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BETWEEN 1840 AND 1855. 






Hon. Sir FRANCIS HINCKS, P.C., K.C.M.G., C.B. 

JRontral : 



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BETWEEN 1840 AND 1855. 






Hon. Sir FRANCIS HINCKS, P.C., K.C.M.G., C.B. 

Pontat : 



A desire having been expressed that the following lecture — 
delivered on the 17th October, at the request of the St. Patrick's 
National Association — should be printed in pamphlet form, I 
have availed myself of the opportunity of elucidating some 
branches of the subjects treated of, by new matter, which could 
not have been introduced in the lecture, owing to its length. I 
have quoted largely from a pamphlet which I had printed in 
Jjondon in the year 1869, for private distribution, in consequence 
of frequent applications made to me, when the disestablishment 
of the Irish Church was under consideration in the House of 
Commons, for information as to the settlement of cognate ques- 
tions in Canada, and which was entitled w Religious Endowments 
in Canada: The Clergy Eeserve and Eectory Questions. — A 
Chapter of Canadian History." The new matter in the pamphlet 
is enclosed within brackets, thus [ ]. 

Montreal, October, 1817. 


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in 2013 

The Political History of Canada. 

1840 TO 1855. 

On Wednesday evening, October 17, a large audience assembled 
in the Mechanics' Hall to listen to the lecture by Sir Francis 
Hincks, on the political history of Canada from the Union of 
Upper and Lower Canada to 1855, delivered under the auspices 
of the St. Patrick's National Association. The chair was occu- 
pied by Mr. Mullarky, the President of the Society, and on the 
platform were His Worship Mayor Beaudry, Messrs. McMaster, 
President of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, John 
Kerry, President of the St. George's Society, E. McLelan, Presi- 
dent of St. Andrew's Society, McEvenue, President of the Catholic 
Union, Edward Murphy, M. P. Eyan, M. Donovan, Eafferty, 
Heffernan, Flannery, Warren, P. Brennan, the Eev. Father 
Salmon and Capt. Kirwan. Sir Francis Hincks, having been 
introduced by the Chairman, was most warmly received, and de- 
livered his lecture as follows : — 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, — When I was honored 
with an invitation from the St. Patrick's National Association, to 
deliver them a lecture, it occurred to me that I might, without 
impropriety, avail myself .of the opportunity to carry into effect 
a long-cherished purpose, and to place on record what circum- 
stances have enabled me to know of the history of Canadian 
parties during the struggle for, and the ultimate establishment 
of Parliamentary government, and, during the succeeding years, 
up to the disruption of the party which had obtained the victory 
in that memorable contest. Having been myself actively engaged 
in the struggle both before and after the publication of the cele- 
brated report of the Earl of Durham, I had peculiarly good 
opportunities of becoming acquainted with the views of those, 

who took a prominent part in public affairs, not only at the 
period of the union of the Provinces, but during the succeeding 
thirteen years. It would obviously be impossible for me, within 
the limits of a lecture, to give anything that would even merit 
the designation of an historical sketch, but I venture to hope that 
it may be in my power to render justice to deceased Canadian 
statesmen, as well as to give a general idea of the history of the 
period to which I have referred. It will be my study to speak 
truthfully and impartially, and to be careful as to the authority 
on which I make statements which conflict with those of others. 
It is not my intention to dwell on the events prior to the rebel- 
lions in both Provinces in the year 1837. It will be sufficient to- 
remind you that in Lower Canada a large majority of the repre- 
sentatives of the people were in confirmed opposition not only to* 
the Government, but to the Constitution as established by the 
Imperial Act of 1791. The principal remedial measure advocated 
by the House of Assembly of Lower Canada was the substitution 
of an elected for a nominated legislative council. In Upper 
Canada parties were more equally divided, and the great majority 
of the Eeformers would have been satisfied with the establish- 
ment of the existing system of Parliamentary government. 


In the year 1838 the Earl of Durham was appointed Governor- 
General of the North American Provinces, and High Commissioner 
to enquire into and to report on their political institutions. The 
Earl of Durham arrived at Quebec on the 27th of May, and 
embarked on his return to England on the 1st November, 1838, 
having been little over five months in the country. He made an 
elaborate report, which gave entire satisfaction to the Reform 
party in Upper Canada, and as general dissatisfaction to the 
party bearing the same designation in Lower Canada. Prior to 
the rebellion of 1837, the Reform party of Upper Canada had 
fraternized to some extent with the Lower Canada majority. In 
a despatch from Sir Francis Head, dated 27th April, 1836, he 
transmitted to the Secretary of State " the copy of a letter which 
Mr. Papineau, Speaker of the Assembly of the Lower Province, 
had addressed to Mr. Bidwell, Speaker of the Assembly of Upper 
Canada," adding, " I conceive that the traitorous and revolutionary 
" language it contains as well as the terms in which it speaks of' 

" your Lordship, need no comment." On the 30th August, 1837, 
Mr. Bidwell had addressed a letter to Dr. O'Callaghan, of Mont- 
real, containing the following passage : — 

" Ee tired from public life, probably for ever, I still look with 
the deepest interest and sympathy on the efforts of those who are 
actively contending for the great principles of liberty and good 
government. Your great and powerful exertions in the cause of 
liberty and justice I have noticed with admiration and respect, 
and I look with deep interest on the struggle in Lower Canada 
between an oppressed and injured people and their oppressors. 
All hope of justice from the authorities in England seems to be 

In November, 1835, Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie and Dr. 
O'Grady, as is stated in the life of the former, visited Quebec " as a 
deputation from leading and influential Eeformers in Upper 
Canada, to bring about a closer alliance between the Reformers 
in the two Provinces." It must be evident from the facts just 
stated, that prior to the events of 1837, there was a cordial under- 
standing between those who were designated as Reformers in the 
two Provinces. 

lord Durham's report. 

In recommending the union of the Provinces the Earl of Dur- 
ham was chiefly influenced by his conviction that there was an 
irreconcilable feud between the Canadians of French and British 
origin, and as he was thoroughly convinced that it was absolutely 
necessary that the future government of the country should be 
conducted in accordance with the will of the majority, he came 
to the conclusion that the two Provinces must be united. I de- 
sire to support my statements by unimpeachable authority, and 
I shall therefore cite Lord Durham's own language : 

" Never again will the present generation of French Canadians 
yield a loyal submission to a British Government ; never again 
will the English population tolerate the authority of a House of 
Assembly in which the French shall possess or even approximate 
to a majority." 

Wholly erroneous as were Lord Durham's opinions on the sub- 
ject of the national feud, there can be no doubt that he enter- 
tained them honestly, and that they were fully shared by Lord 
Sydenham, as well as by the Imperial Ministers of the Crown. 
Lord Durham, however, differed in opinion with those Ministers 


and with Lord Sydenham on a point of considerable importance, 
viz., the mode of apportioning the representation. A Canadian 
historian, Mr. Louis P. Turcotte, whose valuable work, Le Canada 
sous V Union, I have read with great interest, has fallen into an 
error on this subject, which I shall venture to correct. Before 
doing so, permit me to bear my testimony to the value of the 
work in question, and to express my conviction that any errors 
which it may contain have been unintentional. Mr. Turcotte's 
work ought to be translated into English, and I sincerely hope 
that the author may be encouraged to publish a new edition, and 
to avail himself of such friendly criticisms as I for one would be 
ready to submit to him. Referring to Lord Durham's recom- 
mendations, Mr. Turcotte observes : — 

" For the present he recommended the union of the two Cana- 
das under one government, giving to each the same number of 

Lord Durham himself observes in his report : — 

" I am averse to any plan that has been proposed for giving an 
equal number of representatives to the two Provinces in order to 
attain the temporary end of outnumbering the French, because 
I think the same object will be obtained without any violation of 
the principles of rej^resentation, and without any such appearance 
of injustice in the scheme as would set public opinion both in 
England and America strongly against it, and because when emi- 
gration shall have increased the English population in the upper 
Province, the adoption of such a principle would operate to de- 
feat the very purpose it is intended to serve. It appears to me 
that any such electoral arrangement founded on the present Pro- 
vincial divisions would tend to defeat the purposes of union and 
perpetuate the idea of disunion." 

The foregoing passage deserves to be cited as affording evidence 
of the sagacity of the Earl of Durham. There is another error of 
Mr. Turcotte's which I think it desirable to correct, and I may 
observe that Mr. Withrow has repeated it. Both the historians 
represent Lord Durham as having recommended a federal union 
of the British Provinces in his celebrated report, whereas he ar- 
gued strongly against a federal and in favor of a legislative union. 
In view of the fact that a few years later Lord Durham's views 
on responsible government were wholly misunderstood by one of 
his successors, Sir Charles Metcalfe, it seems desirable to prove 
by quotations from his report that he clearly understood the 


principle, the adoption of which he so earnestly recommended. 
I shall therefore use his own words : — 

" It needs no change in the principles of government, no inven- 
tion of a new constitutional theory to supply the remedy which 
would, in my opinion, completely remove the existing political 
disorders. It needs but to follow out consistently the principles 
of the British Constitution, and introduce into the government of 
these great colonies those wise provisions, by which alone the 
working of the representative system can in any country be ren- 
dered harmonious and efficient. * * * But the Crown 
must, on the other hand, submit to the necessary consequences of 
representative institutions, and if it has to carry on the govern- 
ment in unison with a representative body, it must consent to 
carry it on by means of those in whom that representative body 
has confidence. * * * * This change might be 
effected by a single despatch containing such instructions, or if 
any legal enactment were requisite, it would only be one that 
would render it necessary that the official acts of the Governor 
should be countersigned by some public functionary. This would 
induce responsibility for every act of the government, and as a 
natural consequence it would necessitate the substitution of a sys- 
tem of administration by means of competent heads of depart- 
ments for the present rude machinery of an executive council. 
* * I admit that the system which I propose would 
in fact place the internal government of the colony in the hands 
of the colonists themselves, and that we should thus leave to them 
the execution of the laws of which we have long entrusted the 
making solely to them." 

Nothing can be clearer to my mind than the foregoing pas- 
sages, and yet I shall have to call your attention later to state- 
ments in the despatches of Sir Charles Metcalfe which prove 
either that they were wholly misunderstood or else deliberately 
misrepresented. I need not dwell further on Lord Durham's re- 

lord Sydenham's government. 
When the Imperial Government decided to carry them into 
effect, they selected for the office of Governor-General a Cabinet 
Minister, Mr. Charles Poulett Thomson, who had represented 
Manchester, one of the most liberal English constituencies, in the 
House of Commons. Before adverting to the critical period of 
the Government of Mr. Thomson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, it 
seems desirable to consider the state of public opinion in the two 
Provinces. At that time the Eeform party consisted of almost 


the whole French- Can ad ian population, an equal proportion of 
the Irish Eoman Catholics, and a British minority equal, if not 
superior in numbers, to the French-Canadian and Irish Catholic 
Conservatives. The great majority of the British population was 
included in the Conservative party. I am referring at present to 
public opinion in Lower Canada. It is stated in Turcotte's history 
that the French-Canadians of Quebec and Three Eivers, supported 
by their clergy and a considerable number of influential English, 
petitioned against the Union, and in favor of the Constitution of 
1791. The number of signatures was 40,000. A meeting was 
likewise held in Montreal, and an address carried against the 
Union on the proposition of Mr. Lafontaine. The majority of 
the British population were decidedly favorable to the principle 
of the Union Act. In Upper Canada the Eeformers warmly ap- 
proved of the chief recommendations of Lord Durham's report, 
which induced a considerable number of the old opponents of Be- 
sponsible Government to announce their adhesion to that princi- 
ple. The bulk of the Conservative party avowed their opposition 
to Lord Durham's views, and a select committee of the House 
of Assembly made an elaborate report against them. The oppo- 
sition of that party was not only directed against Eesponsible 
Government, but likewise against the Union, as evidenced by a 
joint address from the Legislative Council and House of Assem- 
bly. Such was the state of public opinion when Mr. Thomson 
assumed the Government, charged specially to endeavor to pro- 
cure the assent of the respective Legislatures to the re-union of 
the Provinces. The Constitution having been suspended in Lower 
Canada, and the Special Council being composed chiefly of mem- 
bers of the British party, no difficulty was experienced in obtain- 
ing the assent of the only Legislature in existence in Lower 
Canada. In Upper Canada the Eeformers supported Mr. Thomson 
with great cordiality, and as he claimed and obtained the support 
Of the officials, he was enabled to carry his measure by a sufficient 
majority. The Conservative minority desired to obtain a larger 
representation for Upper Canada, and other conditions to which 
the Governor was unable to assent. Although in the discussion 
which took place in the British House of Commons on Lord 
Durham's report, Lord John Eussell had announced that the Gov- 
ernment could not concur in the recommendation to establish 
Eesponsible Government, His Lordship later in the year wrote a 


despatch, dated 16th October, 1839, in which he directed that the- 
principal officers of the Crown, particularizing the Secretary, the 
Receiver-General, the Attorney and Solicitor-General, should be 
informed that hereafter their offices were to be held strictly 
during pleasure, and that they would be called on to retire when- 
ever public policy might render such a step advisable. This 
celebrated despatch was published, and about the same time the 
Governor, in reply to an address from the Assembly requesting 
copies of despatches on the subject of Responsible Government, 
declined furnishing the despatches, but informed them that " he 
had received Her Majesty's commands to administer the Govern- 
ment in accordance with the well-understood wishes and interests 
of the people, and to pay to their feelings, as expressed by their 
representatives, the deference that is justly due to them." The 
despatch of 16th October and the reply to the Assembly were 
generally accepted by the Reformers as an assurance that Lord 
Durham's recommendation would be acted on. It is important, 
in order to understand the history of the period, to note the 
changes in parties consequent, on the determination of the 
Imperial Government to give effect to Lord Durham's recom- 
mendation to reunite the Provinces. Mr. Thomson was in an 
exceptional position. He was virtually an autocrat in Lower 
Canada, and, owing to the position of parties, almost as powerful 
in Upper Canada. He had divided the Conservative party in that 
Province, and in addition to a Conservative minority, had as his 
supporters the Reformers of Upper Canada and the British or 
Conservative party of Lower Canada, while the opposition to his 
Government consisted of the French-Canadians and their British 
contingent, and the majority of the Conservatives of Upper 
Canada, parties having no sympathy whatever with each other. 
The tone of the press affords a good indication of the state of" 
feeling. The Montreal Herald declared that Lord Durham's re- 
port was " the most luminous, comprehensive and best arranged 
."document on the affairs of the colonies which has ever been 
"submitted to the British Parliament." The Montreal Gazette 
styled it " a document of great research, noted impartial* 
"ity, and fraught with just conclusions with regard to the 
" best interests and the ultimate welfare of these Provinces. !* 
I have already noticed the strong opposition of the French- 
Canadians. The Toronto Patriot referred to " the conduct of the. 


froward nobleman and his knot of loafer-secretaries and hangers- 
on," and declared that u the Ministers have made for themselves 
a pretty kettle of fish by employing Jacobins and loafers to regu- 
late the affairs of a Conservative and loyal people." This journal 
was the exponent of the views of the Conservative party of Upper 
Canada, which had been in the ascendant up to the time of Mr. 
Thomson's assumption of the Government. The British Colonist 
and Christian Guardian may fairly be considered as representing 
the views of the moderate Conservatives, who cordially supported 
the union policy of Mr. Thomson, and who were not disinclined to 
accept Responsible Government ; indeed, Mr. Henry John Boulton, 
Mr. Hamilton Merritt and Mr. Adam Fergusson gave their formal 
adhesion to that principle after the publication of Lord Durham's 
report. I was at that time editor of the Toronto Examiner, and 
had been contending for Responsible Government against almost 
the entire press of Upper Canada during the whole period of Lord 
Durham's government. The Examiner gave a cordial support to 
Lord Durham's recommendations, and to the Union scheme of 
Mr. Thomson. In February ,1840, after the close of the session of 
the Upper Canada Legislature, a vacancy having occurred on the 
Bench, Mr. Attorney-General Hagerman was appointed Judge, 
Mr. Solicitor-General Draper Attorney-General, and Mr. Robert 
Baldwin, the most conspicuous member of the Reform party was 
invited by Mr. Thompson to fill the office of Solicitor-General. 


All the circumstances of Mr. Baldwin's acceptance of a seat in 
the Executive Council under Sir Francis Head four years pre- 
viously, and his subsequent resignation being well known, the 
offer of office was a virtual declaration to the country that the 
•Government under the Union would be conducted in. accordance 
with the wishes of the majority. Mr. Baldwin's political friends 
were at the time supporters of the Government, and he did not 
feel justified in refusing the offer of office. His opinion, concurred 
in by his political friends, was that until after the elections under 
the Union Act, it could not be expected that the Governor-Gene- 
ral could form an efficient administration for the United Province. 
The Governor had encountered warm opposition from the French 
Canadians, and there can be no doubt that his belief was that, by 
the Union of the British party in Lower Canada with the moder- 


ate Conservatives and Keformers in Upper Canada, a working- 
majority would be obtained in the new House of Assembly. Mr. 
Baldwin and his friends were of opinion that the natural combina- 
tion of parties would be the Keformers of Upper and Lower Can- 
ada, the latter consisting chiefly of French-Canadians, with whom 
the Irish Catholics were at that time allied. I cannot introduce 
the name of Mr. Baldwin without expressing my deep sense of 
his great merits as a statesman and a patriot. Many of his con- 
temporaries have passed away, but there are still some survivors 
of those who fought the great battle for Constitutional Govern- 
ment under the leadership of Bobert Baldwin. I cannot forbear 
referring here to a letter which I received a few months ago from 
an old and valued friend who had been reading an historical lec- 
ture which was delivered about that time by the Hon. Mr. Laurier. 
He wrote as follows : — 

" If he (Mr. Laurier) knew as much as you and I do about the 
establishment of Constitutional Government, I think he would at 
least have mentioned the name of Robert Baldwin in his lecture. 
Whilst many of the advanced liberals of that day were seeking 
to rid the country of the irresponsible mode of conducting the 
Government, which had become intolerable, by advocating elec- 
tive institutions, Robert Baldwin, from the first contended that 
the English Constitutional system of responsibility afforded the 
true solution of our difficulties. How zealously and disinterestedly 
he laboured to save his country from the crushing effects of a rash 
and unsuccessful resort to physical force — with what contempt 
and indifference he treated the slanders of his political opponents 
— how perseveringly he pursued the wise and prudent course he 
had marked out for himself until the complete establishment of 
responsible government was triumphantly attained, no one knows 
better than you, and you, as his colleague, also know the 
enormous amount of labor which he bestowed on the establish- 
ment and perfecting of the municipal system and other kindred 
legislative measures which he considered necessary to solidify 
and make more perfect the government of the country under 
that system which he had so long laboured to establish. It seems 
to me that justice has not been done to the memory of Robert 
Baldwin, and there is no man now living who knew him as you 
did, who can testify in his favor as you can. I hope you will be 
able to do something to keep alive the memory of our old friend 
and leader, for it seems to me he is almost forgotten by the new 
men who now fill the seats of power and occupy positions of 

It no doubt appears strange that any one acquainted with 


Canadian history could lecture thereon without bearing testimony 
to the labors of Robert Baldwin, — but Mr. Laurier, although pro- 
fessing to review the history of the Liberal party in this country, 
seems to have been of the opinion that he could do so satisfactorily 
by ignoring the existence of the Upper Canada section of that 
party, and by keeping in abeyance the political questions which 
led to its disruption, although several of them were deeply 
interesting to the people of Lower Canada. It is to be re- 
gretted that no one has undertaken to publish a life of Robert 
Baldwin, but I entertain no doubt that his memory has been, and 
will continue to be, held in high esteem by his countrymen. 
Unfortunately, owing to his having had to place himself in 
opposition to Sir Francis Head, to Lord Sydenham and to Lord 
Metcalfe, his character has been aspersed in books that are to be 
found in most English libraries. The most offensive of the 
attacks on Mr. Baldwin's character is to be found in the life of 
Lord Metcalfe by the late Sir John William Kaye, one of the 
worst class of biographies, the author apparently considering it 
his duty to cast the vilest imputations on all who differed in 
opinion with his hero, of whom he writes in terms of the most 
fulsome adulation. Sir John Kaye was never in Canada, had 
never seen Mr. Baldwin, and must have derived his information 
either from Lord Metcalfe himself or from his immediate de- 
pendents. He commences the description of his character by 
alleging that he was " the son of a gentleman of Toronto, of 
** American descent, who had formerly been a member of what is 
" called the ' Family Compact.' The elder Baldwin had quar- 
" relied with his party, and with the characteristic bitterness of a 
" renegade had brought up his son in extremcst hatred of his old 
41 opponents and had instilled into him the most liberal opinions." 
It would be difficult to crowd a greater number of errors into the 
same space. The worthy and highly esteemed father of Robert 
Baldwin, Dr. William Warren Baldwin, was an Irishman, a 
native of the County of Cork, and was never a member of the 
" Family Compact," nor did he ever hold other than the most 
liberal opinions. Sir Francis Head, certainly not a partial judge, 
describes him as " rather more ultra in his theory of reform than 
" his son, a gentleman of very large property, who is respected 
" for his moral character, and who had also been recommended by 
" my predecessor for a seat in the Legislative Council." Neither 


the doctor nor his son entertained bitter feelings against their 
opponents, and although firm in their adherence to cherished 
political opinions , they were both highly and universally res- 
pected. Sir John Kaye asserts that Eobert Baldwin " seemed to 
delight in strife." A very brief reference to his public career 
will be the most satisfactory refutation of this statement. At the 
-early age of 24 he was elected, in 1828, member for the town of 
York, now the city of Toronto, on the reform interest. He is said 
by Withrow in his History of Canada, " during the entire course 
" of his public life to have commanded the esteem of both political 
" parties. His personal integrity, his legal ability and his singu- 
" lar moderation enabled him, as has been admirably said, to lead 
■" his country through a great constitutional crisis into an era of 
■" larger and more matured liberty." In 1830, two years after his 
election, there was a sudden dissolution of the Liberal House of 
Assembly on the ground of the demise of King George the Fourth. 
The Eeformers were defeated, and Mr. Baldwin withdrew entirely 
from politics for about six years. In 1836 he was invited by Sir 
Francis Head to become a member of the Executive Council. Sir 
Francis Head's own despatch, dated February, 1836, is a complete 
refutation of Kaye's unfounded accusation. He writes to Lord 
Glenelg : — " After making every enquiry in my power, I became 
u of opinion that Mr. Eobert Baldwin, advocate, a gentleman al- 
u . ready recommended to Your Lordship by Sir John Colborne for 
" a seat in the Legislative Council, was the first individual I 
*- should select, being highly respected for his moral character, 
u being moderate in his politics, and possessing the esteem and 
u confidence of all parties." The foregoing character was obtained 
by Sir Francis Head, not from Mr. Baldwin's political friends, but 
from his opponents, one of whom (Chief Justice Eobinson) is spe- 
cially referred to. Mr. Baldwin held the office of Executive Coun- 
cillor in 1836 for about three weeks, he and his colleagues having 
resigned, as he did nearly eight years afterwards, when he found 
that the Governor was determined to conduct public affairs with- 
out the advice of his known and responsible Councillors. A dis- 
solution of the Assembly having taken place owing to its rupture 
with Sir Francis Head, consequent on the resignation of Mr. Bald- 
win and his colleagues, and the Government having been success, 
ful, Mi*. Baldwin accepted the verdict of the country, and again 
withdrew entirely from public life, declining to attend meetings 


or to be a party to the agitation which culminated in the rebellion 
of 1837. He continued in retirement until he was again invited 
by Lord Sydenham to accept the office of Solicitor-G-eneral at 
the time when the union of the two provinces was about to be 
consummated. This is the man who was pronounced by Lord 
Metcalfe's biographer to have been possessed of " unbounded arro- 
gance and self-conceit;" to have been " serving his own ends by 
" the promotion of his ambition, the gratification of his vanity or 
" his spite." It is to be regretted that Canada's most illustrious 
statesman is chiefly known to English readers by the character 
given to him by Sir Francis Head and by the authors of the lives 
of Lords Sydenham and Metcalfe. I have digressed from my 
subject in order to pay a merited tribute to the character of one 
for whom from the period of my first acquaintance, about 45 
years ago, I entertained the most profound veneration, which was 
not in the least abated, during the period in 1841 and 1842, when 
I was temporarily estranged from him, under circumstances to- 
which I shall have occasion to advert. 


This is a convenient opportunity to do justice to another highly 
valued friend, the late Sir Louis Lafontaine. The great French- 
Canadian statesman was of course better known in Montreal than 
Mr. Baldwin, and many are living in our midst, both old sup- 
porters and old opponents. I can hardly believe that there is a 
single individual in the ranks of either party who would admit 
that Kaye was correct in attributing to Sir Louis Lafontaine 
" indecision and infirmity of purpose." I can declare, for my 
own part, that I never met a man less open to such an imputation. 
It is true that Kaye acknowledges that " his better qualities were 
natural to him ; his worse were the growth of circumstances. 
* * * He was a just and honourable man ; his motives 
were above all suspicion." Strange, however, that Kaye could 
believe that such a man could be elevated to the leadership of an 
" important and united party," without any particular fitness, 
and " by the force rather of his moral than his intellectual quali- 
ties." When lecturing under the auspices of the St. Patrick's 
National Association, I cannot omit paying a just tribute to the 
memory of one who took an active part in the great struggle for 
Constitutional Government, at the most gloomy period of the 


contest ; but who did not live to share in the rewards of victory. 
I allude to our distinguished countryman, Dr. Tracy, who was 
cut off in the prime of life, and in the fall vigour of his faculties. 
I had not the advantage of Dr. Tracy's personal acquaintance, 
but, from the period of my first residence in Montreal, in 1844, I 
and my family were privileged to enjoy the friendship of his 
sister, Mrs. Charles Wilson, who still survives, honoured and 
beloved by the whole Irish population for her intellectual, as well 
as her many amiable qualities. When in better health than she 
has of late years enjoyed, she was the most active supporter of 
every project suggested for the benefit of the Irish population. 
Those who visit the cemetery are reminded by the beautiful 
monument, erected to the memory of Dr. Tracy, of his patriotic 
services to the country of his adoption. 


I must revert to the period of our history when a political 
alliance was formed between Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. Baldwin t 
which was only dissolved when they retired from public life, 
about the same time, in the year 1851. During the year 1840, in 
the early part of which Mr. Baldwin accepted office, there were 
no political events of any importance. There were some com- 
munications between the leaders of the Reform party in Upper 
Canada and the principal French Canadians, the object having 
been to ascertain how far it would be possible for the Eeformers 
of the two Provinces to act in concert. The Lower Canadian 
Liberals were unable to accept the Union Act, and were conse- 
quently in direct opposition to the Government, in which the 
Upper Canada Reformers very generally professed confidence. 
Unfortunately for the reputation of Lord Sydenham, there was 
not a fair representation of Lower Canada in the first Union 
Parliament, and for this, to 'some extent at least, he must be held 
personally responsible. In the Union Bill, as originally intro- 
duced by Lord John Russell, it was provided that " the incor- 
porated cities of Quebec and Montreal " should be represented ; 
but in the Act, as finally passed, a clause was introduced empow- 
ering the Governor to define the boundaries of the several cities 
and towns named in the Act. Under this authority, Lord 
Sydenham, by a stroke of his pen, disfranchised two-thirds of the 
inhabitants of Montreal and Quebec, inhabiting the suburbs, and 


secured the return of members pledged to support his govern- 
ment. Some of the counties, but notably Terrebonne, for which 
Mr. Lafontaine, the Lower Canadian leader, was a candidate, 
were carried by violence ; armed bands of non-residents having 
been marched to a polling place fixed at a remote [corner of the 
county, at a distance from the centres of the population. The 
consequence of this policy was the increased hostility of the 
French Canadians to the Government. On the meeting of the 
Legislature it was found that the Reformers of Lower Canada, 
instead of having a majority, as had been fully anticipated of 
nearly twenty, were only about equal to the number of their 
opponents. In Upper Canada, the Conservative members who 
acknowledged Sir Allan McNab as their leader, were few in num- 
ber, while the Reformers had a very decided majority. On the 
meeting of Parliament, Mr. Baldwin summoned a meeting of the 
members of the Liberal party from both sections of the now 
united Province. The chief object of the meeting was to ascer- 
tain whether the Reformers of the two sections were satisfied 
with the composition of the Government, and there was almost 
an unanimous declaration of want of confidence. Mr. Baldwin 
thereupon recommended to the Governor a reconstruction of the 
administration ; and, on his advice being rejected, resigned. Mr. 
Baldwin was severely censured by his late colleagues and their 
friends for the course of proceeding which he adopted, a course 
which no one would have more readily condemned than Mr. 
Baldwin himself, if the administration had been formed in the 
usual way. The union of the two Provinces, the members of 
which were not even personally acquainted, caused an abnormal 
condition of affairs. Mr. Baldwin had been invited by the 
Governor to accept a seat in the Executive Council in February, 
1841, in the following terms : — 

" I am called upon to name an Executive Council for this 
Province without delay, which at present will be composed 
exclusively of the chief officers of the Government, and I have 
therefore included your name in the list." 

Mr. Baldwin wrote to Lord Sydenham in reply, regarding the 
composition of the Council : — 

" With respect to those gentlemen, Mr. Baldwin has himself an 
entire want of political confidence in all of them except Mr. 


Dunn, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. Daly. * * * He deems 
it a duty which he owes to the Governor-General at once to com- 
municate his opinion that such arrangement of the administration 
will not command the support of Parliament." 

Such language could admit of but one construction — Mr. 
Baldwin plainly indicated his intention, when the proper time 
came, to require a reconstruction of the Cabinet ; but, pending 
the meeting of the Legislature, was unwilling to create embar- 
rassment to the Governor by any premature action. He, however, 
did not conceal from his colleagues his want of political confi- 
dence in them. If the Governor or his colleagues had been of 
opinion that Mr. Baldwin's retention of his seat in the Council, 
under the circumstances, was objectionable, they could have 
required his immediate resignation. His own opinion was that 
the assembling together of the newly-elected representatives of 
the reunited Provinces, on the occasion of the meeting of Parlia- 
ment, was the proper time for action ; and that, had he taken any 
more energetic step than he did, he would have laid himself open 
to the charge of causing unnecessary embarrassment to the 
Governor-General. He had, shortly after his appointment to the 
office of Solicitor-General, February, 1840, written a letter, which 
was published at the time, in which he stated : — 

" 1 distinctly avow that in accepting office I consider myself to 
have given a public pledge that I have a reasonably well ground- 
ed confidence that the Government of my country is to be carried 
on in accordance with the principles of Responsible Government 
which I have ever held. My position politically is certainly 
j)eculiar, but its peculiarity has arisen out of the position in which 
the present Parliament placed the Govern or- General, themselves 
and the country by the course they chose to adopt during the 
last session, and it is therefore right that it should be distinctly 
understood that I have not come into office by means of any 
coalition with the Attorney-General or with any others now in 
the public service, but have done so under the Governor-General 
and expressly from my confidence in him." 

It is to be borne in mind that Mr. Baldwin professed confidence 
in some of his colleagues, and his advice was that the Govern- 
ment should be reconstructed very much as was done about a 
year later under the Government of Sir Charles Bagot. 

[I think it desirable to quote here at some length, from a new 
work, " The Irishman in Canada," Mr. Baldwin's own explanation 


of the circumstances attending his acceptance and resignation of 
a seat in the Executive Council in the year 1841. 

He admitted he was responsible to the bar of public opinion. 
The course which he had taken in accepting office on the procla- 
mation of the Union had been condemned. It had, however, been 
forgotten, that he was not, at the time, in the position of one out 
of the Administration, and then, for the first time, invited to join 
it. The Head of the Government, the heads of departments in 
both Provinces, and the country itself were in a position almost 
anomalous. That of the Head of the Government was one of 
great difficulty and embarrassment. While he felt bound to protect 
himself against misapprehensions as to his views and opinions, 
he also felt bound to avoid, as far as possible, throwing any diffi- 
culties in the way of the Governor-General. At the time he was 
called to a seat in the Executive Council, he was already one of 
those public servants, the political character newly applied to 
whose offices made it necessary for them to hold seats in that 
Council. Had he, on being called to take that seat, refused to 
accept it, he must of course have left office altogether, or have 
been open to the imputation of objecting to an arrangement for 
the conduct of public affairs, which had always met with his 
most decided approbation. In either case, what a position he 
would have been placed in. How triumphantly would those who 
condemned him for accepting that seat, have then denounced him 
as one utterly impracticable, if not absolutely factious. 

What doubts and fears would have been raised. No step, as 
Baldwin did not hesitate to say — without assuming any import- 
ance, other than such as the connection of his humble name with 
the great principle of Kesponsible Government had, in the public 
eye, attributed to him — could have been taken which would have 
been more calculated to produce distrust and alarm. It was under 
a deep sense of the responsibility which he would incur in taking 
such a step, that he had come to the conclusion that his course was 
to accept the seat to which the Head of the Government had called 
him. In the peculiar position in which he was placed, coupled 
with his well-known political opinions, either as to men or mea- 
sures, neither the Head of the Government, nor the members of 
the Council who now condemned him, would have had any just 
ground of complaint against him. He had taken office originally 
with a full avowal of his principles, and of his want of political 
confidence in certain gentlemen. He had not rested satisfied 
with that, but had, in order to prevent any possible misconcep- 
tion, explicitly declared those opinions, both to the Head of the 
Government and to those honorable gentlemen, previous to his 
acceptance of a seat in the Executive Council. 

On the 13th February, 1841, Lord Sydenham had written to 
him that he was called upon to name an Executive Council for 


this Province without delay, which, for the present, would be 
composed exclusively of the chief officers of the Government, and 
that he had therefore inserted his name in the list. Did not that 
note, argued Baldwin, show that the Governor himself looked 
forward to such changes as the calls of public opinion might 
afterwards demand, " more particularly when attention to such 
calls formed the very basis of the new principle to which allusion 
had been so often made ? " A few days afterwards, on the 18th 
or 19th of the same month, he had replied that he had to acknow- 
ledge the receipt of the Governor-General's note, informing him 
that His Excellency had done him the honour of calling him to 
the Executive Council of the United Province ; that he was still 
ignorant, except from rumour, who the other councillors were to 
be ; that assuming that the gentlemen to whom rumour had 
assigned seats in the new Council were those who His Excellency 
felt it necessary should " at present " compose it, such an admin- 
istration would not command the support of Parliament ; that 
he had an entire want of political confidence in all of them, 
except Mr. Dunn, Mr. Harrison, and Mr. Daly, and that had he 
reason to suppose that the generally understood political princi- 
ples and views of the other gentlemen of the Council were those 
upon which the Government was to be administered, it would be 
his duty respectfully to decline continuing to hold office under 

At such a critical moment, however, he shrank from every- 
thing that would be in the least calculated to embarrass the 
-Government. He, therefore, would not feel justified in refusing 
the place to which he had been appointed. His silent acceptance 
of office might, however, be misinterpreted by the members of 
the Council, in whom he had no confidence, as an expression of 
his confidence. He would take it for granted there could be no 
objection to his making them acquainted with his sentiments. 

He accordingly addressed letters to those gentlemen, informing 
•them of his utter want of political confidence in them. Could 
he have done more to prevent misconception ? True, he might 
have retired from the Government at the time ; but so might the 
gentlemen to whom he objected, who were precisely in the same 
position as he was. If he did not take that course, it was because 
he was impelled to a contrary one by a strong sense of duty. 
He had felt, as he took it for granted they had done, that the 
-verdict of the country was to decide whether their political views 
or his were most in accordance with the wishes and interests of 
the people. The charge of not having interchanged with his 
temporary colleagues those communications which might have 
led to a correct estimate of the respective political opinions of 
each, was no charge at all, except upon the supposition that he 
had entered into a coalition with them. Without that ground of 
complaint, all the charge amounted to was that he had not acted 


inconsistently with his already avowed opinion concerning them r 
and misled them, by a show of confidence, into a belief that his 
previously expressed opinions had been modified ; or it resolved 
itself into a repetition, in a new shape, of the first charge of 
accepting the office of Executive Councillor at all, to which he 
had already given a sufficiently satisfactory answer. Those 
gentlemen of the Administration in whom he had felt and avowed 
political confidence, knew that he had communicated with them 
in the fullest and frankest manner upon every topic connected 
with the state of the country, and upon none more fully than 
that involved in the subject of the present discussion. The third 
charge was, that he had not, at an earlier period, tendered that 
advice, upon the rejection of which he had felt himself called 
upon to resign. It was hard that he was, on 1he one hand, 
accused of precipitancy ; and on the other of delay. But when 
the circumstances in which he was p'acei were fairly considered ; 
when it was remembered that, from the time of his appointment 
to the time of his proceeding to Montreal, he had been actively 
engaged, first with the Upper Canada elections, and more parti- 
cularly the contest for Hastings and the City of Toronto, and 
afterwards with the duties of his office of Solicitor-General as 
public prosecutor on the Home Circuit ; that he had not only 
expressly communicated to the Head of the Government, at 
the time of accepting the seat in the Executive Council, his 
expectations of the result of the elections then about to come off, 
but had never concealed his opinion that those anticipations had 
been realised ; that he had, when in Lower Canada, the advantage 
of seeing only a portion of the Eeform members w r ho had been 
returned to the United Parliament, and had not had an opportu- 
nity of ascertaining how far the Reformers of both sections of 
the Province were prepared to act together — a course on their 
parts which he had always deemed of the most vital importance 
to the best interests of his country ; when these circumstances 
were considered, he felt convinced that every dispassionate man 
in the community would acquit him of any unnecessary delay 
in tendering his advice to Lord Sydenham.] 


The effect of Mr. Baldwin's resignation was to place him in 
opposition to his old colleagues, all of whom, Reformers as well 
as Conservatives, retained office, and although frequently defeat- 
ed, owing to combinations of parties having little sympathy with 
each other, the Government succeeded in getting through the 
session without serious difficulty. There were at least five if not 
six parties in the House, three from each Province. In Upper 
Canada there were, 1st, the old Conservative party led by Sir Allan 


Macnab ; 2nd, the Ministerial party composed chiefly of Reformers, 
with a few Moderate Conservatives, under the leadership of Mr. 
Attorney-General Draper and Mr. Secretary Harrison ; 3rd, the 
Reformers who followed the lead of Mr. Baldwin, numbering six 
to eight. In Lower Canada there were — 1st, the Reformers of 
French and Irish origin with their allies of the British party, led 
by Mr. Morin, Mr. Neilson and Mr. Aylwin ; 2nd, The British 
party, including the Conservative French- Canadians and Irish 
elected to support Lord Sydenham's policy, and almost uniformly 
doing so that session, although several of them had a decided bias 
in favor of a Liberal policy, while others were as decidedly Con- 
servative. I may mention the names of two representative men, 
both deservedly respected, and both at the time members for the 
City of Montreal, the Hon. Geo. Moffatt and Benjamin Holmes. 
A year later those gentlemen were completely separated as to 
party connection, the former being as decidedly on the Conserva- 
tive as the latter was on the Liberal side. At the period to which 
I am referring, both were supporters of the Administration. The 
division lists of the session of 1841 cannot fail to strike any one 
acquainted with the state of parties as extraordinary. Mr. Baldwin 
on several occasions voted with considerable majorities in oppo- 
sition to the Government, while as frequently he was in insigni- 
ficant minorities. There was a decided tendency towards a coali- 
tion with the Reformers of French origin on the part of Sir Allan 
MacNab and the Upper Canada Conservatives. The Ministerial 
strength lay in the support which it received from the British 
party of Lower Canada, and from the majority of the Upper 
Canada Reformers. On more than one occasion, especially the 
election bill, the latter followed Mr. Baldwin's lead, and the bill 
was carried against the Government in the Commons, but was 
thrown out by the Legislative Council. There was a great contest 
over the Municipal Bill, which was the most important measure 
of the session, and it was on one occasion saved from defeat by 
the casting vote of the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. 
Sir Allan McNab and his Conservative friends, and Mr. Neilson 
and many Lower Canadians were wholly opposed to municipal 
institutions, while Mr. Baldwin was desirous of amending* the 
Government bill so as to make it more Liberal . The Government 
announced its determination on what I thought at the time, and 
fc till think, justifiable grounds, to withdraw the bill, if any impor- 


tant amendment were carried, and on this, as on several other 
occasions as the session advanced, I considered it my duty to 
support the Government. I found on better acquaintance that I 
had no opinions in common with Mr. Neilson, who, from his age 
and experience, had great influence in the councils of the Oppo- 
sition party, and I found several of the Lower Canada British 
members as thoroughly Liberal as I could wish. The resolutions 
recognizing Responsible Government were carried with only 
seven dissentients, four from Upper and three from Lower Canada. 
Mr. Neilson did not vote, but he was an avowed opponent of the 
principle, and before another year had expired was openly in the 
Conservative ranks. Towards the end of the session Lord Syden- 
ham met with the accident which caused his premature death. 
He was succeeded, after an interval of a few months, by Sir 
Charles Bagot. In June, 1842, I was invited to accept the office 
of Inspector-General, and as I had considered it my duty to 
support the principal measures of the Government during the 
preceding session, and as I felt bound, under existing circum- 
stances, to cast my lot with those with whom I had entered into 
alliance, I did not hesitate to do so. All my leading supporters 
in the County of Oxford testified their approbation of my conduct 
by supporting me on the occasion of my re-election. 


About three months afterwards the second session of the First 
Parliament of United Canada was opened by Sir Charles Bagot. 
There was no material difference in the state of parties, although 
the Opposition had gained a few seats, and had been much 
strengthened by the return of Mr. Lafontaine, the leader 
of the French Canadians, for the North Riding of York, in 
Upper Canada, Mr. Baldwin who had had a double return, having 
vacated that seat, and having strongly recommended his Lower 
Canadian ally to the electors. The address in answer to the 
speech having been moved in due course, Mr. Baldwin proposed 
in amendment a vote of want of confidence. Meantime, negoti- 
ations had been commenced for a reconstruction of the adminis- 
tration. It cannot be denied that they were very clumsily 
managed. A written proposal was made to Mr. Lafontaine by 
the Governor, which he felt himself unable to accept, and in the 
course of the debate the Governor's letter was read by Mr. 


Attorney General Draper, who was able to make out a strong 
case for himself. He acknowledged with great frankness that he 
had at one time been prejudiced against the French-Canadians, 
but declared that the experience of the previous session had 
removed all his objections to acting with them. He admitted the 
necessity of introducing into the Government gentlemen pos- 
sessing their confidence, and as he was aware that under existing 
circumstances they could not take office without Mr. Baldwin, he 
stated that he had more than once tendered his own resignation, 
in order that his office might be offered to that gentleman. There 
is no doubt that the leaders of the Opposition, Messrs. Lafontaine 
and Baldwin, were desirous of forcing the Ministry to resign, in 
the expectation that one of them would have been called on to 
form a new administration, and it is not improbable that if the 
Ministers had been weak enough to yield, such a result might 
have ensued. The Ministers, however, were firm on all essential 
points. They yielded so far on the proposed pensions to Mr. 
Ogden, the Attorney General, whose office had been offered to 
Mr. Lafontaine, and to Mr. Davidson, the Commissioner of Crown 
Dands, as to consent that their new colleagues and their friends 
should vote as they pleased, but Mr. Turcotte has fallen into an 
error in stating in his history that they retained their seats on 
the condition of conforming to the policy of their new chiefs. 
No such stipulation, nor any other, except on the subject of the 
pension vote, was proj>osed. 

[As it became my duty, owing to my official position, to propose 
the pension vote, and as there seems to exist some misapprehen- 
sion as to a proceeding which I can readily understand seems 
extraordinary to those unacquainted with circumstances, I think 
it desirable to offer some explanation regarding it. Prior to the 
introduction of responsible government, the principal offices were 
in practice held during good behavior, precisely as the non- 
political offices,, such as deputy heads of departments, are now 
held both in Canada and England. There was, of course, a 
difficulty in subjecting such incumbents of offices to political 
responsibility. In Nova Scotia, if I am not mistaken, one, if not 
more, of that class was pensioned. Lord Sydenham had induced 
Mr. Secretary Daly, Mr. Attorney -General Ogden, and Mr. 
Solicitor-General Day in Lower Canada, to find seats in parliament. 
The Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. Davidson, who was an 


old public servant, declined entering political life, but his office 
was considered one which should be made political. To have 
simply dismissed such a man, who had taken no part in politics, 
because his office was wanted, would have been an act of cruelty, 
exactly similar to the dismissal of any non-political officer under 
our present government without his having committed a fault of 
any kind. So little did Mr. Davidson know of the political nego- 
tiations, that his office had been conferred on another before he 
even knew that any change was thought of. Mr. Ogden's case was 
not quite so strong, because he had been returned as a member, 
and had virtually accepted the political position. Nevertheless, 
he had accepted the office when it was non-political, and was on 
leave of absence when the changes took place. If length of 
service was an element in the case, his claim was much stronger 
than Mr. Day's, whose tenure of office had been short in com- 
parison with Mr. Ogden's. During the interval between the 
sessions of 1841 and 1842, Mr. Day was appointed to the Bench, 
of which for many subsequent years he was an ornament. I 
believe that under different circumstances neither Mr. Lafontaine 
nor Mr. Baldwin would have disputed the propriety of awarding 
pensions to two old public servants deprived of their offices 
owing to the introduction of a new principle of government. I 
at all events cordially concurred with my colleagues in thinking 
that the proposed pensions should be granted. I can quite 
understand the reluctance of Mr. Lafontaine to accept office on 
the condition that he was to provide a pension for the previous 
incumbent. The point was not one on which an important 
political arrangement could be upset. It was agreed that the 
pension question should be an open one. When I proposed it to 
the House, Messrs. Lafontaine and Baldwin were absent, having 
to be re-elected after acceptance of office, and an amendment to 
postpone the consideration of the question until the following 
session was carried on a division. During the recess an oppor- 
tunity occurred of conferring on Mr. Davidson the office of 
Collector of Customs at Hamilton, which he readily accepted 
instead of a pension, and the new ministers willingly consented 
to get rid of the difficulty in that way. Mr. Ogden's case was 
disposed of by the Imperial Government, which gave him the 
appointment of Attorney-General to the Isle of Man. Mr. Daly's 
case created embarrassment a year later. He ought, as an old 


public officer, to have been pensioned at the Union. He was 
forced into political life, for which he had no aptitude, and when 
the Metcalfe crisis took place he retained his office. When he 
was forced to retire in 1848 he was provided for by the Imperial 
Government. Mr. Dunn and Mr. Sullivan, who were in the same 
position, resigned with their colleagues in 1843, the former 
returning to England and receiving no compensation for the loss 
of an office conferred on him many years previously as non- 
political, and the latter resuming the practice of a profession 
which he had abandoned for a non-political office understood at 
the time to be permanent. The result was that the change from 
non-political to political heads of departments in Upper and 
Lower Canada was accomplished without a single Canadian 
pension, Mr. Ogden and Mr. Daly having both been compensated 
by employment under the Imperial Government.] 

In giving a list of the Ministers, Mr. Turcotte places Mr. 
Lafontaine's name at the head as "First Minister," exactly as 
it was properly placed in 1848. In 1842 Mr. Lafontaine, 
Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Morin, Mr. Aylwin, and Mi*. Small became 
members of the old Government, six members of which 
retained their offices and their precedence, without concessions of 
any kind. Mr: Wi throw is still more inaccurate. He states 
that even prior to the reconstruction " the principle of double 
majority, as it was called, was introduced." And why intro- 
duced ? To counteract, he says, " the dominant influence " of 
the French members, who, numbering twenty-four, " held the 
balance of power." Now, it so happens that the French Cana- 
dian members, instead of holding the balance of power, never 
had so little influence as during the first session of the First Par- 
liament. This was owing to the disfranchisement of Montreal 
and Quebec, and to the elections carried by violence. The balance 
of power was held by the Reformers of Upper Canada, who gen- 
erally supported the Government, but occasionally divided with 
Mr. Baldwin. A Government of " double majority," instead of 
counteracting the influence of the French Canadians, would have 
been the means of securing it. Elsewhere, when referring to Mr. 
Baldwin's resignation in 1854, Withrow asserts that u since the 
union, successive Ministers had succeeded in carrying their 
measures by a majority from each Province." The fact is that 
during the whole of the second Parliament the Government was 


sustained by a majority from Upper Canada acting with a Lower 
Canada minority. Mr. Baldwin's resignation is stated to have 
taken place " in obedience to this principle," but if a principle 
was at stake, all Mr. Baldwin's Upper Canada colleagues should 
likewise have resigned, and yet it was his own earnest request 
that they should not do so. Mr. Baldwin resigned because he was 
abandoned by almost the entire legal profession of Upper Canada, 
on a measure, the Court of Chancery, which he had himself car- 
ried through the Legislature, and for which he held himself per- 
sonally responsible. I cannot make this allusion to that measure 
without recording my opinion that the attacks frequently made 
against the late Chancellor Blake as having promoted the Chan- 
cery Act in order to provide a place for himself, are most unjust. 
Mr. Blake was not a member of the Administration, and Mr. 
Baldwin himself was the author of the measure, which was im- 
peratively demanded by the profession and the country. Mr. 
Blake, no doubt, rendered valuable aid to Mr. Baldwin in the 
framing of the bill, which was, nevertheless, introduced on the 
respDnsibility of the Government, and Mr. Baldwin especially, 
and I know that it was at Mr. Baldwin's earnest and pressing 
solicitations that Mr. Blake, at the very commencement of what 
promised to be a most brilliant political and professional career, 
consented to abandon it, in order to take a post, which no other 
man in the profession could have filled with so much advantage 
to the public. I have been glad of the oj^portunity of stating 
that up to the time of my leaving Canada in 1855, no political 
alliance was formed on the principle of securing majorities from 
the two Provinces. It was, of course, considered desirable that 
the Government should have a majority from each section in sup- 
port of its policy. At the time of the crisis in 1842 there was 
every reason to believe that the Ministerial party was the strong- 
est in the House, and it certainly could only have been defeated 
by a coalition between the Conservatives, led by Sir Allan Mac- 
nab, and the opposing Liberals led by Messrs. Lafontaine and 
Baldwin. Such a coalition would have resembled very much that 
batween Fox and Lord North, but neither Mr. Lafontaine nor Mr. 
Baldwin would have consented to take office with Sir Allan Mac- 
nab. The new coalition was one between men who held common 
views of public policy, and it was completely successful, having 
been approved by all but an unanimous vote in the House. It is 


a circumstance not unworthy of notice that the Governor, who 
alone of all Lord Elgin's predecessors, is held in grateful remem- 
brance by the French Canadian population, was a Conservative in 
his politic*. Lords Durham, Sydenham and Metcalfe, though, all 
but especially the two first-named, decidedly Liberal, will never 
be so considered by French Canadians ; while Sir Charles Bagot, 
I am inclined to think, stands at least as high as any other Gov- 
ernor in their estimation. Unfortunately that mo3t upright and 
conscientious statesman was prostrated by sickness shortly after 
the reconstruction of the Administration, and was succeeded by Sir 
Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe. The choice of an Indian states- 
man of reputed ability, but without any experience whatever of 
Parliamentary government, was at least singular. It was well 
known at the time that the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 
the late Earl of Derby, disapproved of Sir Charles Bagot's policy, 
and tbere can now be little doubt that he formed a determination 
to overthrow Responsible Government, and selected Sir Charles 
Metcalfe as the most fitting agent for the purpose. If, as Mr. 
Withrow declares in his history, Lord Stanley had really adopted 
the policy of his predecessors, the Government of Canada pre- 
sented no extraordinary difficulty at the time of Sir Charles 
Bagot's illness. The new Ministry had the largest Parliamentary 
support of any that has ever held office in Canada. The circum- 
stances of Lord Metcalfe's appointment, with the light thrown on 
them by subsequent events, are calculated to excite grave sus- 
picion that there was a foregone conclusion to overthrow Re- 
sponsible Government. In Lord Metcalfe's life, the private note 
first addressed to him by Lord Stanley is published. His Lord- 
ship writes on the 14th January, 1843, enquiring as to Sir Charles 
Metcalfe's health, and asking him whether he would be able, and 
if able, disposed to take upon himself " most honorable, but at the 
" same time very arduous duties in the public service." In case 
of his consenting to undertake those duties he is requested to call 
at the Colonial Office, " where I should be happy to enter upon 
" an unreserved communication with you upon the subject." Of 
course, there is no information given as to the unreserved com- 
munication which was made when Sir Charles Metcalfe expressed 
his willingness to undertake the " arduous duties," but Sir Char- 
les wrote to Captain Higginson, afterwards his Secretary : — 
" I am not sure that the Government of Canada is a manage- 


able affair, and unless I think I can go to a good purpose I will 
not go at all." 

Such language is inexplicable on any other assumption than 
that the arduous duty was to overthrow Responsible Government. 
All Sir Charles Metcalfe's correspondence prior to his departure 
from England is indicative of a feeling that he was going on a 
"forlorn hope" expedition, and I feel assured that poor Sir 
Charles Bagot had a foreboding of what was likely to happen 
when in his last sad interview with his Ministers he more than 
once appealed to them " to defend his memory." It must be 
admitted that Lord Stanley could hardly have made choice of a 
man better suited for his purpose. Sir Charles Metcalfe's 
biographer describes him as " a statesman known to be saturated 
through and through with Liberal opinions," and such was the 
estimation in which he was held in England. In India, where 
his reputation had been acquired, or as Governor of a Crown 
Colony, he would have ^succeeded admirably, but a more unfit 
man to administer'a constitutional Government on Lord Durham's 
principles could not have been selected. Sir Charles Metcalfe 
himself wrote to his sister: — 

"Never was man dragged into public "employment more against 
his will." 

Again, to his friend Mr. Mangles, he wrote :-— 

" I never undertook anything with so much reluctance or so 
little hope of doing good. I fear that the little reputation that I 
have acquired is more likely to be damaged than improved in the 
troubled waters of Canada. If I succeed in reconciling local 
dissensions, I shall rejoice in having undertaken the charge ; if I 
fail, which from the state of things is more probable, I must con- 
sole myself with the assurance that for the rest of my days I 
shall be left undisturbed in the retirement that I love." 

I shall dwell as briefly as possible on the Metcalfe crisis. It 
seems to me important to establish, 1st. The [repugnance enter- 
tained by Lord Metcalfe to Responsible Government. 2nd. His 
almost inconceivable ignorance of the views of Lords Durham 
and Sydenham, and 3rd. The improper means taken to obtain a 
Parliamentary majority. In less than a month after his assump- 
tion of the Government Sir Charles Metcalfe declared in a 
despatch : — 

" I find myself condemned, as it were, to carry on the Govern- 


ment to the utter exclusion of those on whom the mother country 
might confidently rely in the hour of need/' 

A month later he writes : — 

" Now comes the tug of war, and supposing absolute submission 
to be out of the question I cannot say that I see the end of the 
struggle if the parties alluded to (the Council) really mean to 
maintain it.'' 

Lord Metcalfe's biographer is very frank in his exposition of 
his Lordship's views. The declarations are so numerous that 
being unable to quote at much length I have found it difficult to 
select. I shall take one at random : — 

•• He was called upon to govern or to submit to the Govern- 
ment of Canada by a party, and the party by which he was to 
govern was one with which he had no sympathy. It was rather 
a combination of parties than a single faction — a combination of 
two parties — the principles of neither of which Metcalfe could 
bring himself to approve. He had some conception of the state 
of parties in the Province before he set his foot on Canadian soil, 
but he had no clear knowledge of the extent to which party spirit 
was eating into the very life of the colony or the embarrassment 
which must beset him as soon as ever he attempted to do justice 
to all classes and conditions of men irrespective of the factions to 
which they belonged." 

I might cite many other passages to establish the fact of Sir 
Charles Metcalfe's opposition to Eesponsible Government as under- 
stood by the Canadian people and as established by the resolu- 
tions of 1841. In the extract that I have cited, there is no refer- 
ence to Canadian public opinion as expressed by the Represen- 
tatives of the people, but, on the contrary, it is manifest that the 
personal predilections of the Governor were to be the rule of his 
Government. I proceed to consider, 2ndly, the ignorance display- 
ed by Sir Charles Metcalfe of the views of his predecessors on the 
subject of Responsible Government. In a remarkable despatch, 
dated 5th May, 1843, nearly four months before the resignation 
of his Ministers, he discussed the whole question. Regarding, he 
observes "Lord Sydenham as the fabricator of the frame of Gov- 
ernment existing in this Province," he has carefully examined 
his despatches to ascertain " the precise view " which he took of 
Responsible Government. He infers from his earlier despatches 
that Lord Sydenham was wholly opposed to Responsible Govern- 


ment, and I am bound to admit that Lord Sydenham appears to 
have modified his views very considerably during his residence 
in Canada. His views, however, can only be ascertained from 
his acts. Sir Charles Metcalfe, professing to believe that Lord 
Sydenham was opposed to Responsible Government, observes : — 

"It is beyond measure surprising that he adopted the very form 
of administration that was most assuredly calculated to defeat 
that purpose, and to produce or confirm the notion of Responsible 
Government, which he had before reprobated — that is the respon- 
sibility of Executive officers of the Government to the popular 
Legislative Assembly. In composing his Council of the principal 
Executive officers under his authority, requiring that they should 
all be members of the Legislature and chiefly of the popular 
branch, and in making their tenure of office dependent on their 
commanding a majority in the body representing the people, he 
seems to me to have ensured with the certainty of cause and 
effect that the Council of the Governor should regard themselves 
as responsible, not so much to the Governor as to the House of 
Assembly. In adopting the very form and practice of the Home 
Government, by which the principal Ministers of the Crown form 
a cabinet acknowledged by the nation as the Executive Adminis- 
tration and themselves acknowledging responsibility to Parlia- 
ment, he rendered it inevitable that the Council here should obtain 
and ascribe to themselves, in at least some degree, the character 
of a Cabinet of Ministers. If Lord Sydenham did not intend this, 
he was more mistaken than from his known ability one would 
suppose to be possible, — and if he did intend it, he, with his eyes 
open, carried into practice that very theory of Responsible Colo- 
nial Government which he had pronounced his opinion decidedly 
against. I cannot presume to account for this apparent inconsis- 
tency otherwise than by supposing either that he had altered his 
opinion w r hen he formed his Council after the union of the two 
Provinces, or that he yielded against his own conviction to some 
necessity which he found himself unable to resist." 

It is quite immaterial whether Lord Sydenham yielded to con- 
viction or to the force of circumstances ; but no one can read the 
foregoing extract without acknowledging that in the controversy 
which Sir Charles Metcalfe subsequently raised with his Minis- 
ters, he could hardly have doubted that they were acting in 
accordance with the principle of government which he himself 
admitted had been fully established. It will always be a matter 
of uncertainty whether Lord Sydenham really yielded his opi- 
nions to circumstances or whether he purposely concealed them 
in order not to shock the prejudices which the Conservative party 


entertained against Responsible Government. It was hardly pos- 
sible, in view of the state of public opinion in Lower Canada, that 
the Governor who brought about the Union could enjoy the con- 
fidence of the French Canadians. Lord Sydenham was too expe- 
rienced a statesman to have had any doubt as to the necessity of 
establishing Parliamentary Government, but the necessities of his 
position rendered it impossible for him to obtain the cooperation 
of those friendly to that system. I have already described the 
parties on whose support he determined to lean, and many of 
these were no friends to Responsible Government. Moreover, the 
system was new to the Canadians, and Lord Sydenham, who had 
himself been a Cabinet Minister, was but too ready to render all 
the aid in his power to the Ministers whose chief reliance was on 
his personal influence. In a subsequent part of the despatch from 
which I have last quoted, Sir Charles Metcalfe displays an ignor- 
ance that is simply amazing. He asserts that "the term Respon- 
" sible Government now in general use in this colony was derived, 
" I am told, from marginal notes of Lord Durham's report." 
Prior to that the Democratic party " had no precise name for the 
" object of their desires, and could not exactly define their views." 
Can it be conceived j^ossible that Sir Charles Metcalfe was ignor- 
ant of the great contest for Responsible Government during Sir 
Francis Head's administration in 1836, or that the term was 
clearly understood by the Canadian statesmen both of Lower and 
Upper Canada long before that time ? The motto of the Toronto 
Examiner during the whole period of Lord Durham's Government 
was " Responsible Government," and the precise recommendations 
of his Lordship's report regarding that principle of Government 
were perseveringly advocated in the columns of that journal from 
its commencement in July, 1838 — as a reference to its files would 
prove. But not satisfied with asserting that Canadian Reformers 
did not understand what they were contending for, Sir Charles 
Metcalfe expressed an opinion that Lord Durham himself had no 
intention of conceding what it was the special object of his report 
to recommend. He seized on the following expression, which he 
himself failed to comprehend, as justifying his ojunion : — I find 
that he proposes that all officers of the Government, " except the 
" Governor and his Secretary, should be responsible to the united 
" Legislature, and that the Governor should carry on his Govern- 
" ment by heads of departments in whom the United Legislature 


" repose confidence." On which Sir Charles sagaciously re- 
marks : 

" If the Secretary who issued the Governor's orders were not 
responsible to the Legislature, there would be a great difference 
from the present arrangement under which the Provincial admin- 
istration generally is carried on through Secretaries professedly 
so responsible." 

In the extracts which I have cited from Lord Durham's report 
there is no room for misconception, and I would especially refer 
to the recommendation that " the official acts of the Governor 
should be countersigned by some public functionary," so as to in- 
sure responsibility. It is hardly necessary to point out the differ- 
ence between his (the Governor's) Secretary and the Secretary of 
the Province. The Governors have always had the assistance of 
Secretaries, who of course are in no sense responsible to Parlia- 
ment. I shall now advert to the third point on which history must 
condemn Lord Metcalfe, viz., the improper means which he adopt- 
ed to obtain a majority in Parliament. No one can read the biog- 
raphy of Lord Metcalfe and his numerous despatches without be- 
ing thoroughly convinced of his hostility to Eesponsible Govern- 
ment, and yet for months after his rupture with his Ministers he 
spared no efforts to persuade the people of Canada that he was a 
sincere friend to that principle, and that but for the unconstitu- 
tional demands of his Ministers he would have gone on with them 
cordially. Among those whom he completely deceived was a 
venerable French-Canadian statesman, Hon. D. B. Viger, whose 
pamphlets afford unmistakeable evidence that he labored under 
a misapprehension as to the cause of the rupture. If Mr. Yiger 
could have read the 'despatches of Sir Charles Metcalfe to'the Secre- 
tary of State prior to the resignation of the Ministers, I am fully 
persuaded that he would never have accepted office. I look back 
with feelings of pride and satisfaction to the circumstances under 
which I first took up my residence in Montreal about the close of 
the year 1843. I had previously been connected with the press, 
and had endeavored to be the exponent of the views of the Ee- 
formers of Upper Canada, but after the crisis of 1843, it was 
deemed most desirable, in the interests of the United Liberal 
party, that there should be a journal at the seat of Government in 
the confidence of the political leaders of both sections, and I was 


strongly urged to establish such a journal, and I readily under- 
took the work, although fully aware of the fearful responsibility 
which I incurred at a period when party politicians had to endure 
an amount of odium of which those of the present day have only 
a faint idea. When I commenced my career as a journalist in 
Montreal early in 1844, an election for the city was pending, the 
candidates being Mr., afterwards Judge, Drummond, and the late 
Mr. William Molson, a gentleman for whom personally I enter- 
tained as high a respect as any of his supporters could have done. 
A great principle was at stake, and I laboured with all the zeal in 
my power for the popular candidate, who was eventually returned 
by a majority of 920. It is stated by Sir Charles Metcalfe, in his 
despatch of 23rd November, 1844, that — 

" The British party seemed determined to win the election, 
(referring to the general election), or, at least, not to have their 
suffrages taken from them by the violence practised at Mr. 
Drummond's election in April. The same violence was designed 
by that gentleman and his party on this occasion, but the British 
party were resolved to oppose force by force, and organized them- 
selves for defence. Owing to the spirit and firmness with which 
they resisted the attacks of the Eoman Catholic mobs of canal 
laborers hired by Mr. Drummond's party — to the admirable ar- 
rangement of the returning officers which secured uninterrupted 
and equal polling for both sides throughout the election, and to 
the ready attendance of the military when necessary to preserve 
the peace, the violence attempted entirely failed and the British 
party triumphed." 

The foregoing passage would lead to the inference that a peace- 
able majority had been in danger of being deprived of their rights 
owing to the violent proceedings of Eoman Catholic mobs of canal 
laborers not possessed of the franchise. But strange to say, Sir 
Charles Metcalfe in his very next sentence proceeds to destroy his 
own case. 

" As it is supposed (he proceeds) that if all the electors could 
have voted there would have been a majority in favor of the Op- 
position candidates, owing to the great bulk of the French-Cana- 
dian and Irish Eoman Catholic voters being on their side, the 
peculiar circumstances which gave success to the British party 
require explanation. The existing election law, confining the 
polling to two days, does not allow time for receiving all the votes 
of so large a constituency. The polling, therefore, being carried 
on equally in those wards in which neither party's votes were 


exhausted, there was a majority in favor of the candidates sup- 
porting Her Majesty's Government, which secured their success 
without ascertaining on which side the majority of the aggregate 
body of electors actually was, as the whole, for want of time, could 
not be brought to the polls. In the April election, the polls 
having been seized by the hired ruffians of Mr. Drummond, and 
the British party being unable to resist from want of organiza- 
tion, the returning officers also either being partial or devoid of 
energy and firmness, the British party had then no chance. On 
the present occasion the numbers were, for Mr. Moffat 1079, Mr. 
De Bleury 1075, for Mr. Drummond 953, Dr. Beaubien 952." 

Such is Sir Charles Metcalfe's own account of this memorable 
election. I shall give you that of the Pilot : — 

" The city is divided into six wards, three of which are so small 
that in three hours all the votes they contain can be polled. In 
two of these three, it is well known that the Tories have always 
had an aggregate majority of about 100. In the three other 
wards, which contain five-sixths of the votes of the city, the 
Liberals could command in one 3 to 1, and in the other two 4 to 
1. Now, it will be observed that by means of the alternate vot- 
ing, without the consent of the Liberal candidates, it was utterly 
impossible to record in two days even one-half of the votes of the 
great wards, and hence it was that the Liberals of the city have 
been as effectually disfranchised under the paternal despotism of 
Sir Charles Metcalfe, as they were under the honest tyranny of a 
Sydenham, a tyranny which Sir Charles Metcalfe, on his arrival 
in this country, professed to condemn." 

You will not have failed to notice that Sir Charles Metcalfe 
himself admitted that " the bulk ^of the French Canadian and 
" Irish Eoman Catholic votes were in favor of the Opposition 
" candidate," indeed he commenced his account of the election by 
remarking, " the carrying of the Montreal election in favor of the 
"Government was hardly expected." The means resorted to are 
stated with great frankness, except that there was an omission to 
mention that all the oaths were put by the agents of the Govern- 
ment candidates to all the voters, old men being sworn to their 
being of the age of 21, for the purpose of delay. The Opposition 
candidates maintained that voting by tallies could only be admit- 
ted when both parties gave their consent, and that it was beyond 
the power of the returning officer to direct the observance of such 
a practice. The disfranchisement of the Suburbs by Lord Syden- 
ham was an admission that the majority was on the Opposition 


side, and the election of Mr. Drummond a few months previously 
by a majority of 920, obtained entirely in the Suburb Wards, 
could have left no room for doubt as to whieh party commanded 
the majority of votes. It may likewise be observed that at the 
next election Messrs. Lafontaine and Holmes were returned by a 
majority of 1,300. Some recent references to those old times 
have partly induced me to place on record a true statement of the 
successive disfranchisements of the City of Montreal upwards of 
30 years ago. Yiolence at elections has long since entirely 
ceased, but historical truth and justice render it proper to estab- 
lish the fact that the great majority of the electors of Montreal 
Avere unflinching in their oposition to the reactionary policy of Sir 
Charles Metcalfe, which, nevertheless, had a temporary success. 
During about four years of opposition the united Liberal party wait- 
ed patiently for another appeal to the constituencies of the country. 
The Government majority was small, and obtained entirely from 
Upper Canada, the Opposition having a considerable majority in 
Lower Canada. Lord Metcalfe, who had suffered during the 
whole period of his government from a painful disease, was at 
length compelled to resign in November, 1845, his Government 
having lasted less than three years. He received an assurance 
from Lord Stanley that "your administration of affairs in Canada 
" has more than realized the most sanguine expectations which I 
" had ventured to form of it," an assurance strongly confirmatory 
of what I have already said of His Lordship's object in selecting 
Sir Charles Metcalfe having been to overthrow Eesponsible Gov- 
ernment. Earl Cathcart, the Commander of the Forces, suc- 
ceeded to the Government, and during his short administration 
made no change. In 1846 there was a change of Government in 
England, and Earl Grey succeeded Lord Stanley at the Colonial 
Office, and, shortly after his assumption of office, selected the Earl 
of Elgin as Governor General of Canada. From the period of his 
arrival Lord Elgin manifested a fixed determination not to be em- 
broiled in the personal controversies of his predecessors. Govern- 
ment House became once more neutral ground, where no party dis- 
tinctions were recognized. The general election which took place 
about the close of the year 1847 resulted in the complete triumph 
of the Liberal party, and the consequent return of their leaders 
to power on the meeting of Parliament in February, 1848. This 
seems a convenient place to refer to the composition of the rival 


parties. Lord Metcalfe invariably, in his despatches, divided the 
population into French-Canadians, Eeformers and Conservatives,. 
as if the French-Canadians took no interest in the political ques- 
tions which divided parties, but were seeking some special objects 
of their own. It is, I think, a more correct definition to describe 
the Eeform party as consisting of the bulk of the French-Cana- 
dians, of the Irish Roman Catholics, and a small Protestant 
minority in Lower Canada, and a majority of the Protestant 
denominations other than the Church of England in Upper Canada, 
to which may be added the Irish Roman Catholics of that Pro- 
vince. There was greater division among the Presbyterians and 
Methodists than among the other denominations, especially 
during the political crises of 1836 and 1843-44. The great major- 
ity of the members of the Church of England, and many Presby- 
terians and Methodists constituted the Conservative party in 
Upper Canada, while in Lower Canada the great majority of the 
population of English and Scotch origin, and of the Irish Protes- 
tants were members of the same party. The administration which 
came into office in 1848 had to encounter a most violent opposi- 
tion from the Conservatives on their bill for granting compen- 
sation to the sufferers from the wanton destruction of property 
during the rebellions of 1837-38. The excitement was general, 
but unfortunately, owing to the City of Montreal having been the 
seat of Government, the manifestations of displeasure were more 
pronounced in this city, where the buildings in which the meet- 
ings of the Legislature were temporarily held, although the 
property of the city, were destroyed by some of the irritated 
citizens in a moment of frenzy, and such further violence display- 
ed as to enable those who had always been unfriendly to Montreal 
to succeed in effecting the removal of the Government from that 
city. It is to be noted that the violent proceedings of the oppo- 
sition in 1849 had the effect of strengthening the Ministers with 
their supporters in both sections of the Province. Even those 
who did not fully approve of the Rebellion Losses bill compre- 
hended the objection to an appeal to England to disallow an act 
deliberately concurred in by the Canadian Parliament. The 
discontented party published a manifesto in favor of annexation 
to the United States, but it met with little response from the 
Conservatives of Upper Canada, and was really a mere exhibition 
of the irritation which prevailed very extensively among the- 

39 . 

British population of Lower Canada, and for which great allow- 
ance should be made by an impartial narrator of the history of 
the period. In 1850 the Legislature met in Toronto, and by that 
time there had been premonitory symptoms of a rupture in the 
Liberal party. It cannot be expected that there will be the same 
unanimity among the members of a party of progress as in one 
formed to resist organic changes. In the former there will always 
be a section dissatisfied with wiiat they think the inertness of 
their leaders. I have to explain as clearly as in my power the 
principles and views of those who, though elected as Reformers 
ceased to extend support to Mr. Lafontaine's administration, and 
gradually assumed a still more hostile attitude, and combined 
with the Conservative Opposition to overthrow the Government, 
which succeeded it. This new Opposition, if I may so term it, 
was composed of members from Lower Canada, chiefly French- 
Canadians, and members from Upper Canada, but between these 
sections there was no similarity of views, as I shall be able to 
show. The founder of the Opposition party in Low T er Canada 
was the celebrated Louis Joseph Papineau, who, on re-entering 
Parliament in 1848, placed himself in open and decided opposition 
to the Government, and to nearly all his countrymen then having 
seats in the Legislature. I cannot refer to so distinguished a 
man as Mr. Papineau without pausing to state the impression 
which I formed of him during the brief period of our intercourse. 
I had never seen him prior to his return from France, whither 
he had retreated after the rebellion of 1837. It was impossible 
to avoid being charmed by his conversation and demeanour in 
private life, but his political principles were moulded by circum- 
stances, which seemed to render him incapable of appreciating 
the conduct of those, on whom the leadership of his countrymen 
had devolved in his absence. I am convinced that his ffuidino- 
principle was an utter distrust of all English statesmen. He 
knew that the avow T ed object of the Union had been to destroy 
the influence of his countrymen, and he never would consent to 
give it a trial. Moreover, he was, after his return to Canada, and 
possibly at an earlier period of his life, a confirmed Republican, 
and never could place the slightest confidence in Responsible 
Government, as a means of securing local independence. He had 
no Parliamentary success during the few years that he remained 
in public life on his return to Canada, but he was the founder of 

v 40 

the Lower Canada Liberal Opposition, which became more 
formidable under the leadership of younger men. In a lecture 
delivered a few months ago, by the Hon. Mr. Laurier, M.P., 
reference is made to the history of this party, and it has been 
satisfactory to me to have had an opportunity of reading the 
account given of it by one, who has derived his information of 
the events of that period by other means than personal observa- 
tion. In a great deal of the introductory portion of Mr. Laurier's 
lecture, I myself entirely concur, but in eulogizing Liberalism it 
must never be forgotten that it is a relative term. Mr. Laurier 
has quoted largely from the writings of Lord Macaulay, who was 
a special favourite of my own, bat in almost the last speech made 
in the House of Commons by that eminent man in 1853, he used 
these words : — " For myself, sir, I hope that I am at once a 
Liberal and a Conservative politician." I can draw no other 
inference from Mr. Laurier's own language, than that had he 
been in public life at the time, he would have been, as I was, a 
Conservative in opposition to the Liberalism of L'Avenir. There 
is, it appears to me, a fundamental error in Mr. Laurier's history 
of the Liberal party. He pronounces an eulogium on both Mr. 
Lafontaine and Mr. Papineau as " men who loved their country 
ardently, passionately, who devoted their lives to it, who were 
disinterested and upright," and so far I entirely concur with him, 
but when he proceeds to declare further that he " will not under- 
take to criticize the respective political views of those great 
men," and when he recommends his hearers not to enquire which 
of the two was right and which was wrong, it seems to me that 
he has wholly failed in a most important part of the task which 
he undertook. It was obviously the duty of an impartial historian, 
and one from which Mr. Laurier's favorite Lord Macaulay would 
not have shrunk, to have denned as precisely as possible the 
grounds on which Mr. Papineau and his followers deemed it 
proper to create a division in the Liberal party. Mr. Laurier, it 
is true, has been less reticent on the subject of the disciples of 
Mr. Papineau, those who " after supporting Mr. Lafontaine in 
the glorious struggle with Lord Metcalfe, abandoned him for the 
more advanced policy of Mr. Papineau." He states that these 
founders of the Liberal party, emboldened by success, founded 
I/'Avenir, and issued a programme of not less than 21 articles, 
which commenced with the election of magistrates and ended 


with annexation to the United States. In condemning these 
views Mr. Laurier excuses those who held them, on account of 
their youth, although they were clearly imbibed from the veteran 
politician Mr. Papineau. Another excuse is even less valid. It 
is not fair to assert that in 1848 the new constitution had not 
been applied in good faith by the Colonial Office. Not only had 
all the utterances of the Earl of Elgin been most satisfactory, but 
the presence of Mr. Lafontaine and of his colleagues in the Cabinet 
ought to have been held as a sufficient guarantee that Eesponsible 
Government was fully established. Great stress is laid by Mr. 
Laurier on the services rendered by U Avenir party towards the 
abolition of the seigniorial tenure. This is, in my judgment, one 
of the questions on which an immense amount of misconception 
exists, but it would be wholly impossible for me to discuss it on 
such an occasion as the present, and I will merely state that 
X 1 Avenir party sought the reduction of the cens et rentes without 
compensation to the seigniors, and that the bill introduced by the 
Government in 1854, though coming very far short of the 
demands of that party, was, nevertheless, so objectionable that it 
was completely remodelled in the Legislative Council, and the 
money voted by Parliament applied to the abolition of the casual 
rights, which were the real public grievance, and not to the 
extinction or reduction of the cens et rentes. I emphatically deny 
that the party of X Avenir are entitled to the credit accorded to 
them by Mr. Laurier, in connection with the settlement of the 
Seigniorial question. 

[Having taken considerable interest in the settlement of the 
seigniorial question in 1854, and having, while the bill passed by 
the Legislative Assembly was under the consideration of the 
Legislative Council, published a brochure entitled " The Seigniorial 
Tenure — Present state of the Question ; by a member of the 
Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada," I shall endeavor to give 
the substance of that long-forgotten paper. It commenced by 
noticing the bill which emanated from the Select Committee of 
1851, which proposed to define by law the maximum amount of 
tens et rentes to which the seignior should be entitled, and to 
compel him to concede his unoccupied lands at that rate. This 
bill, which was in the nature of a declaratory bill, was opposed by 
Mr. Lafontaine, who pronounced it a measure of confiscation. 
It was reported from the committee so late in the session that 


legislative action on the subject before the prorogation became 
impossible. Mr. Lafontaine's retirement from public life took 
place during the recess, and after the formation of a new 
government a general election took place. During the session of 
1852-3 a bill was introduced which proposed to reduce what 
were held to be exorbitant rents, and to obtain from the courts of 
justice a decision as to the legality of such rents, to compensate 
the seigniors in case they were legal for any excess over 2d per 
acre, which was in future to be the maximum rent ; if illegal, 
the seignior was to submit to the reduction without compensa- 
tion. It is unnecessary to enter upon other details, as the 
burthen of the commutation of the casual rights was to fall on 
the censitaires. The bill as passed by the Assembly was rejected 
by the Legislative Council. The next bill, submitted in 1854 , 
was based on a reduction of the cens et rentes to Id per acre, the 
professed object being to meet the demands of the district of 
Quebec, where the rents were much lower than in Montreal. But 
while the bill was in committee, the principle of compulsory com- 
mutation of the casual rights was introduced, and in a manner, as I 
contended, which would be unjust to the seigniors ; while on the 
other hand any forced commutation that would have done justice 
to the seigniors would have been most repugnant to the censitaires. 
It was pointed out that the great objection to all the schemes 
that had been proposed was their unequal operation, both as 
regarded the seigniors and the censitaires, while the liberal 
indemnity fund would be wasted. It was urged that inasmuch 
as it had at last been admitted that the tenure should be abolished, 
the wisest policy would be to apply the indemnity to the 
extinction of the most onerous and at the same time the most 
odious of the rights, the legality of which was nevertheless 
undisputed. After pointing out that even the censitaires who 
were subject to what were held to be exorbitant rents would have 
no just cause of complaint, it concluded by stating that the 
advantage of the proposed plan was that no one would have to 
pay more annual rent than he actually paid, while all society 
would be relieved of the feudal burthens. The views which I 
contended for were substantially those adopted by the Legislative 
Council, by which body the bill sent from the Assembly was 
completely changed, and I had reason to believe at the time that 
my little brochure had been useful. The popular feeling repre 


sented by the party of L'Avenir was entirely directed to the 
reduction of the rents, and not to the abolition of the tenure ; 
and while I admit that the rents were what pressed most on the 
masses of the people, they were by no means objectionable on 
public grounds like many of the casual rights, such, especially, 
as the lods et ventes and the droit de retrait, which was often most 
unfairly exercised.] 

In 1852 the Opposition published a new journal, called Le Pays, 
and it would be interesting to know whether this change of front 
was caused by pressure from their allies in Upper Canada, who 
most assuredly had no sympathy with the views enunciated in 
the programme of L'Avenir. It is certainly most extraordinary 
that Mr. Laurier should have undertaken to give the history of 
the Liberal party in Lower Canada alone, although it was, from 
the time of its formation, necessarily forced to act in Parliament 
with men of another origin, and with widely different views on 
many points. As I may not find it convenient to refer again to 
Mr. Laurier's lecture, I may observe here that his statement that 
the section of the Liberal party which followed Mr. Lafontaine 
"finit apres quelques tatonnements par s'allier aux Tories du 
" Haut Canada," is quite incorrect. There were no " tatonne- 
ments," and the Lower Canada Government party had a consi- 
derable majority, of which, had Mr. Laurier been then in 
Parliament, and had he held the views expressed in his lecture, 
he would have formed part. A section of the liberal party, 
including those who had adopted the programme of L'Avenir, 
and the Upper Canada Reformers, who had withdrawn their 
confidence from the Government on other grounds, united with 
the Conservative opposition to defeat the Ministry. Whether 
they were justified in doing so, is not now the question. They 
acted on their responsibility ; but the effect of their proceeding- 
was to force the alliance, or coalition, which Mr. Laurier con- 
demns. The Government must be carried on, and all combinations 
must give way to that supreme necessity. The Ministry having 
been forced to resign, the leader of the Opposition was sent for, 
according to usage, and when it appeared, after conferences, that 
there were no essential points of difference between the two 
parties, they united to carry on the Government. My complaint 
against Mr. Laurier is, that he has represented a proceeding 
which arose from inevitable necessity, as one of premeditation. 



I must now advert to the policy of the Opposition in Upper 
Canada. It would be wholly out of my power, on such an occa- 
sion as the present, to do more than glance very briefly at the 
questions on which a portion of the Upper Canada Liberals took 
a different view from the members of the Government. Some 
of those questions chiefly affected Upper, others Lower Canada. 
The former were the clergy reserves, rectory and sectarian school 
questions ; the latter, grants to charitable corporations, connec- 
ted with the Catholic Church, and Acts creating what were 
termed ecclesiastical corporations. On some of these questions 
wide differences of opinion prevailed between the bulk of the 
supporters of the Government in Lower Canada and a considera- 
ble number of their supporters in Ujyper Canada. All these 
questions, most fortunately, have been removed from the field of 
politics; but they were at one time very exciting, and had a 
most important influence in causing the disruption of the old 
[Reform party. Complaints of the inertness of the Government 
on the clergy reserve question, which was the most prominent of 
those engaging public attention in Upper Canada, were assidu- 
ously made during 1850, although a member of the Government 
proposed and carried an address to the Crown praying for a repeal 
of the Imperial Clergy Reserve Act, so that the whole question 
might be settled in accordance with Canadian public opinion. I 
desire, as much as possible, to avoid a recurrence to past con- 
troversies, and to explain the causes of the rupture of the Liberal 
party without discussing the merits of the respective views of 
the opposing sections. I can hardly do this better than by 
making a quotation or two from the writings of the Hon. George 
Brown, then conducting the Globe newspaper, which was the 
chief organ of the Liberal Opposition. 


Shortly before the general election of 1851, Mr. Brown ad- 
dressed a series of letters to me as the Leader of the Government, 
from which I select the following passage : — 

" You know that I have been at open issue with you through- 
out in regard to your systematic disregard of the feelings and 
wishes of your supporters, and the disastrous effects on the party 
thereby produced. You know that the Globe's resistance of 


Roman Catholic aggression caused the first open rupture between 

Unfortunately, I complained of the " systematic disregard of 
the feelings and wishes " of our allies in Lower Canada of the 
Roman Catholic faith, on the part of the Globe and those of the 
Reform party who supported its views. I never could be con- 
vinced that there was any tendency whatever towards aggression 
on the part of Roman Catholics. I did not consider that the 
claims on the part of the Roman Catholics to have separate 
schools in Upper Canada, as the Protestants had always had in 
Lower Canada, or the claim to have educational or charitable in- 
stitutions incorporated with a right to hold property, were acts 
of aggression. I considered, moreover, that, irrespective of the 
special merits of the questions at issue, great respect should be 
paid to the wishes of the great majority of the population of 
Lower Canada, with whom the Liberals of Upper Canada were in 
cordial alliance, and on whose support they depended for pro- 
curing the settlement of questions in which they took an interest. 
In the same number of the Globe, from which I have quoted, in 
rej)ly to an article in a Ministerial Liberal paper, expressing a 
belief that on certain questions, il Clergy Reserves, and one or 
two others," on which the French members entertained preju- 
dices, they would be guided by the results of the next elections. 
It is said : — 

" Will the American dare say that ' a large number of the lead- 
ing men ' among the French members have declared their will- 
ingness to be guided by the results of the next elections on the 
Rectory question ? or on the Sectarian School question ? or on the 
Sectarian moneygrant question ? or on the marriage question ? 
We believe there is some truth in the statement as regards the 
clergy reserves, but in regard to any other there is none what- 

It is with no intention of impeaching the accuracy of the fore- 
going statement that I have cited it, but to establish the cause of 
the disruption of the Reform party, owing to irreconcilable differ- 
ences of opinion on important questions between a large section 
of that party in Upper Canada and the Government supported by 
the bulk of the Liberal party in Lower Canada, and, if the mem- 
bers elected were to be considered as a guide, by the majority of 
the Reformers in Upper Canada, I must confess that I was less 


surprised than disappointed at the divergence of views to which 
I have just called your attention among those who had long 
formed an united Liberal party in the old Province of Upper 
Canada. For a period of ten years the absorbing political ques- 
tion on which the parties had been divided was the establishment 
of Responsible or Parliamentary Government, and it must be ob- 
vious that persons differing widely on other questions might con- 
cur in advocating a measure calculated to benefit the community 
at large. The questions next in importance were those known 
as the Clergy Reserve and University questions, and as the ob- 
ject of the Eeformers was to wrest public endowments of lands 
from the Church of England for the common benefit of all classes 
of the population, there was no difficulty in securing a concur- 
rence of action between the Roman Catholics and those Protest- 
ants who were opposed to the claims of the Church of England. 
"When, however, other questions engaged public consideration, it 
soon became apparent that there were differences of opinion be- 
tween the sections of the Liberal party to which I have referred, 
which rendered harmonious action between them impossible. 
The population of Upper Canada was composed largely of immi- 
grants from the United Kingdom, who brought with them the 
animosities which they had inherited from their ancestors, and 
which originated in causes with which all acquainted with the 
past history of the Mother Country are acquainted. Cordial co- 
operation between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants 
can scarcely be expected when questions are at issue involving 
scruples of conscience on the part of either, and there is perhaps 
more cause for wonder that the alliance lasted for more than ten 
years than that it was at length dissolved. 


About the time that Mr. Brown's letters were published, a 
convention of delegates was held in the County of Oxford, which 
I then represented and for which I intended to be a candidate at 
the approaching election, the object of which was to require 
their candidate to pledge himself to support the principles 
maintained by the section of the party in opposition to the 
Government, w^hich was led by Mr. Brown. I was accordingly 
applied to by letter and informed of the condition on which I 
had been selected as the nominee of the Convention. The 


correspondence, in view of subsequent events, may not be thought 
out of place as bearing on the history of parties : 

Honorable Sir, — You will see by the resolutions adopted on 
the 15th instant, that I am requested to send you a copy and 
request your assent to the same. I therefore trust that you will 
forward the same at your earliest convenience. 

I remain yours truly, 

Thomas Hardy. 

Quebec, 29th Oct., 1851. 
Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter, without date, enclosing M copy of a political platform 
resolved upon by the Convention, in convention assembled, in 
Woodstock, on Thursday, October 15, 1851 ; " and also a copy of 
certain resolutions adopted by the same convention, one of which 
is to the effect " that the Hon. Francis Hincks, the nominee of 
this Convention, be instructed and required by the Chairman of 
this Convention to subscribe to the platform of the reform party 
in the County of Oxford, as expressed in convention this day," 
while by another I am required, as the nominee of the said 
Conyention, to resign my seat in parliament when called upon 
by two-thirds of the said Convention. I shall, I trust, be excused 
by the gentlemen composing the Convention referred to if I 
reply to your communication at some length, and if I address 
you with perfect frankness and sincerity, even though my views 
should be found unpalatable by those to whom I desire to have 
hem submitted, and for whom individually and collectively I 
entertain a high respect. You will permit me to say, that I 
cannot recognize any right in a convention of delegates, 
appointed in a way unknown to the Constitution, to impose 
conditions of any kind upon candidates for the suffrages of the 
freeholders of the county. The course taken by certain conven- 
tions in the western part of Upper Canada has already, I am 
grieved to find, enabled the opponents of progressive reform to 
charge them with attempting, like the socialist clubs of France, 
to exercise an unconstitutional control over the government and 
parliament of the country. It is, I am sure, far from the intention 
of any of the gentlemen with whom you are associated, to be a 
party to proceedings which might be fairly so characterized, and 
I therefore feel great confidence that, on mature consideration, 
the delegates to the County of Oxford Convention will give me 
their support without conditions which it would be equally 
degrading for them to impose and for me to submit to. As an 
executive councillor I am bound by my oath of office to 
advise the representative of our Sovereign to adopt that policy 
which I believe to be the best. In giving that advice con- 
scientiously, I must be guided by the circumstances in which 


the entire Province is placed, and by the general state of public 
opinion. If circumstances and the state of public opinion be such 
that it is inexpedient to cany out the policy which I deem most 
conducive to the common weal, my duty is to retire from office, 
so as to enable others to carry on the government. Were I to 
enter office fettered by pledges to a convention having no 
constitutional responsibility, it would be obviously impossible for 
me either to act in concert with others or to give free advice 
to the representative of my Sovereign. I should, in fact, 
cease to be a minister of the Crown, responsible to parliament 
for my advice, and be the mere delegate of a convention 
elected in a manner wholly unknown to the Constitution. 
While I am bound frankly to assure you that nothing could 
induce me to occupy such a position as that which I have 
described, it is also my duty to inform you, that were I to 
subscribe to your conditions, I should have to abandon my seat in 
the Cabinet, and, with it, the prospect of advancing that cause 
which many of you have much at heart. With regard to my 
views on the great questions which have agitated the public 
mind, the Convention cannot be in ignorance, as I had an oppor- 
tunity of addressing them very recently in public, as well as of 
explaining myself to most of them individually. Since then a 
new Administration has been formed, which will, I trust, receive 
in my person the support of a majority of the freeholders of the 
county of Oxford. I have already warned those persons who 
hold extreme views — some of them, in my opinion, inconsistent 
with our present Constitution, if not with British connection — 
that by pressing those views against the public opinion of other 
parts of the Province, they will endanger the success of measures 
of vital importance to the country, and secure the triumph of their 
opponents. My warnings may be disregarded, and the Eeform 
party may, notwithstanding my efforts to prevent it, go disunited 
to the hustings. If so, I shall have the satisfaction of knowing 
that the responsibility will not rest with me. It is proper that I 
should here state my views with regard to the legitimate duties 
and powers of delegates elected in the manner generally adopted 
in Upper Canada. I can recognize the propriety of appointing 
delegates from the different sections of a county, for the purpose 
of effecting an amicable adjustment of the claims of rival candi- 
dates for the suffrages of the freeholders, which candidates enter- 
tain the same general views and appeal for support to the same 
party. It must be perfectly obvious that in my case no such 
convention was called for. In my position, as a member of the 
Government, all the supporters of that Government must be fav- 
orable to me ; and it is my duty both to them, to myself, and to the 
entire party supporting the Government, to take the sense of the 
electors at the polls. The Convention in the county of Oxford 
was appointed by persons who, for reasons into which I need 


not enter, had modified their support to the Government as for- 
merly constituted. The real question which, in my opinion, that 
Convention is called upon to decide, is, whether, under existing 
circumstances, it is expedient to divide the Eeform party in the 
county of Oxford by setting up a candidate in opposition to me. 
This is what you and your friends must determine on your own 
responsibility; I may, however, be permitted to say that the 
course which I lately adopted, when called upon to advise the 
Governor-General with regard to the reconstruction of the Cabi- 
net, was the constitutional mode of strengthening the Government 
in the opinion of those on whose support its existence depends. 
Should such tests as yours be applied to the Government candi- 
dates, the desired result will not be attained. To speak plainly, 
you may rely on it that if there be disunion among the Reformers 
of the county of Oxford, the example will be followed in other 
counties, to the serious injury of the entire party. I need not 
enlarge on this point. I shall appeal to the freeholders of the 
county of Oxford as a member of the present Government, and 
claiming for it this mark of confidence; and if the delegates of the 
Convention think proper to put up a candidate in opposition to 
me, I shall cheerfully bow to the decision given at the polls 
between that candidate and myself, and any other who may pre- 
sent himself. I have abstained in this reply from the discussion 
of the various questions submitted to me by the delegates — on 
some of which my opinions are known to be as liberal as those of 
any member of the Convention — because I feel that the true secu- 
rity for the public must be the characters of the responsible Min- 
isters of the Crown, who have entire confidence in one another, 
and who feel that they can cordially cooperate in effecting a set- 
tlement of all leading questions in a manner that will be satisfactory 
to the country. 

I am, sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


Thos. Hardy, Esq. 

The Convention nominated a candidate, who was afterwards 
withdrawn, and I was elected. 


It was shortly before this time that, in consequence of the 
retirement of Mr. Lafontaine from public life, I was sent for 
by the Earl of Elgin to advise him as to the construction of 
a new Government. Being well aware of the distrust that 
had been created as to my intentions on the subject of the 
Clergy Reserves, I was anxious to obtain the co-operation of 


gome of those Reformers in whom the dissatisfied section of the 
party had professed to place implicit confidence. After some 
difficulties, all of a personal character, the new Administra- 
tion was formed, and the result of the general election was 
to give it a fair working majority. One of the most urgent 
measures of reform was a bill for increasing the representation, 
which, although carried by a considerable majority during the 
administration of Mr. Lafontaine, had not obtained the consent 
of two-thirds of the Houses, as required by the Union Act. This 
bill was at last carried, and no effort was spared to procure the 
repeal of the Imperial Clergy Reserve Act. During a visit 
which I paid to England in 1852, I pressed this measure on the 
Secretary of State with all the energy in my power, but in vain. 
[[ think it right, in justice as well to myself as to the memory 
of the Hon. Robert Baldwin, to disprove the following statement 
in Withrow's history, which I have reason to think is believed 
by many, as well as by the author named and some other con- 
temporary writers. 

" The discussion of the Clergy Reserve question was renewed 
outside of the~House, principally in the journals of the advanced 
Reform party, the chief of which were the Globe and Examiner 
of Toronto. The older and more moderate Reformers, of whom 
Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Lafontaine may be regarded as types, 
opposed the re-opening of this question, and sought to maintain the 
settlement of the subject that had been effected by Parliament 
during Lord Sydenham's administration. Another section of the 
Reform party, which was rapidly rising into influence, wished 
for their entire secularisation. A division in the ranks of the 
party thus took place, which led to the retirement of some of its 
ablest members." 

I have italicised the statements which I shall prove to be 
incorrect ; but I may likewise affirm here that no question relat- 
ing to the Clergy Reserves led to the retirement of any member 
of the Reform Administration. ■ Between Mr. Baldwin and 
myself there was an entire concurrence of opinion on the question 
up to the period of his resignation in 1851 ; and I have no reason 
to doubt that he approved of the subsequent proceedings of the 
Government of which I was the leader. I have elsewhere men- 
tioned Mr. Baldwin's entrance into public life about the year 1829, 


He was a member of the Tenth Parliament of Upper Canada, 
which, in two consecutive sessions, passed bills, without a division, 
for the sale of the Clergy Eeserves, and the application of the 
j>roceeds to educational purposes. Mr. Baldwin, although a most 
sincere member of the Church of England, was a strong advocate 
of religious equality ; and although he had not, like the members 
of several denominations of Protestants, any conscientious objec- 
tions to religious endowments, he was thoroughly convinced that 
they were indefensible in Canada. He was not in public life 
when the Clergy Reserve question was settled in 1840, by an Act 
of the Imperial Parliament, with which the Canadian Parliament 
could not constitutionally interfere, and he was well aware of the 
strong feeling that existed among the leaders of both political 
.parties in England against Canadian legislation on that subject 
by the United Legislature. How strong that feeling was will 
appear from Sir John Pakington's despatch of December 1852* 
The first agitation on the subject after the passing of the Imperial 
Act proceeded from the friends of the Church of England. The 
Liberal Government had taken steps to have the Clergy Lands 
valued, with a view to their prompt sale ; but in January, 1844, 
Governor-General Sir Charles Metcalfe proposed to the Secretary 
of State that the Clergy Reserve Lands should be vested in the 
religious bodies. Mr. Gladstone, then Secretary of State, pointed 
out that the Imperial Act would have to. be amended, and asked 
for information. On the 6th April, 1846, the Executive Council 
recommended the suspension of all sales, and also the raising of 
the price of the lands valued by appraisers, from 25 to 125 per 
cent. In the next Session, Mr. Attorney-General Sherwood pro- 
posed an address to the Crown, praying Parliament to pass an 
Act authorizing a division of the lands, instead of the income 
arising from their proceeds, among the religious bodies. This 
was the signal for renewed agitation against the Imperial settle- 
ment. I was not a member of the Second Parliament of United 
Canada; but Mi\ Baldwin and Mr. Price both spoke strongly 
against Mr. Sherwood's address, which was lost by 37 to 14. In 
1849, the year of the rebellion losses bill, several petitions were 
presented against the existing settlement. In 1850, Mr. Price 
proposed a series of resolutions, on which to found an Address 
to the Crown for the repeal of the Clergy Eeserve Act, for all of 


which Mr. Baldwin voted ; and there can be no doubt that he 
would have voted for secularisation whenever the proper time 
came. That he was firmly convinced that no other settlement 
would be satisfactory, I can affirm in the most positive manner ; 
and I trust that there will be no further assertions or insinuations 
to the contrary. Of course the policy adopted to effect the 
desired object is fairly open to criticism ; and with regard to 
that, owing to his withdrawal from the Government in 1851, I 
have a greater load of responsibility than Mr. Baldwin, although 
there was entire concurrence between us in the incipient pro- 
ceedings. Our plan was to obtain, firstly, the repeal of the 
Imperial Act, and then to legislate in accordance with Canadian 
public opinion. 

Accordingly, during the Session of 1850, Mr. Price a member 
of the Administration, and one who, as a Congregationalist, had 
conscientious objections to religious endowments, was selected to 
move resolutions on which to found an address to the Crown for 
the repeal of the Imperial Clergy Eeserve Act. The Address 
contains a narrative of the various attempts made during succes- 
sive years to settle the question, all of which were frustrated by 
the action of the Legislative Council. It is unnecessary for me 
to quote more than the despatch of the Earl of Elgin to Earl 
Grey transmitting the address, the most important clause of 
which is embodied in it. That despatch, as will appear from Mr. 
Brown's letter was made the ground of suspicion against the 
administration : 

Copy of a Despatch from the Eight Hon. the Earl of Elgin and 
Kincardine to the Right Hon. the Earl Grey : 

Government House, Toronto, July 19, 1850. 
My Lord, — I have the honor to transmit herewith, in com- 
pliance with the request of the Legislative Assembly, to be laid 
at the foot of the Throne, an Address from that House to Her 
Majesty, on the subject of the Clergy Eeserves. After recapitu- 
lating the proceedings of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada 
before the union of the Provinces in connexion with this ques- 
tion, it concludes with the prayer, that Her Majesty will be 
graciously pleased to recommend to Parliament a measure for 
the repeal of the Imperial Act 3 and 4 Vict., chap. 78, and for 
enabling the Canadian Parliament to dispose of the Clergy Ee- 
serves, subject to the condition of securing the stipends or allow- 
ances assigned from this fund to the clergy of the Churches 


of England or Scotland, or to any other religious bodies or 
denominations of Christians, to the parties now receiving them 
during their natural lives or incumbencies. It was finally 
carried by a majority of 46 votes to 23 ; some of the minority 
voting against it in consequence of this reservation. 

2. It may be proper, however, to observe, that a much closer 
division took place on the passage of the 29th, in the series of re- 
solutions on which the Address was founded, and which was thus 
worded : — " Resolved — That this House is of opinion, that when 
all the circumstances connected with this question are taken into 
consideration, no religious denomination can be held to have such 
vested interest in the revenue derived from the proceeds of the 
said Clergy Eeserves as should prevent further legislation with 
reference to the disposal of them ; but this House is nevertheless 
of opinion, that the claims of existing incumbents should be treated 
in the most liberal manner." This resolution was opposed by 
three classes of persons: First, by those who desire the existing 
settlement to be maintained. Second, by those who, though they 
object to the Imperial Act of 1840, and seek its repeal, admit, 
nevertheless, certain claims on the part of the Protestant clergy 
under the Constitutional Act of 1791. And lastly, by those who 
are unwilling to recognize even the claims of existing incum- 
bents. It was carried on a division by a majority of two only \ 
the numbers being 36 for, and 34 against it. 

3. I deeply regret the revival of agitation on this subject, of 
which Lord Sydenham truly observed, that it had been in Upper 
Canada the one all-absorbing and engrossing topic of interest, and 
for years the principal cause of the discontent and disturbance 
which had arisen, and under which the province had labored. 
The intervention of the Imperial Parliament in 1840 was doubt- 
less prompted by a desire to settle on terms which should be 
equitable and generally satisfactory, a question which had for so 
many years disturbed the peace of the colony. While the prin- 
ciple, however, of an establishment was abandoned by the Im- 
perial Act 3 and 4 Yiet., chap. 78, which admitted all denomina- 
tions to share in the proceeds of the Clergy Eeserves, advantages 
were given by it to the established Churches of England and 
Scotland in the distribution of the funds which render them still 
objects of envy. This feeling has been increased, as regards the 
Church of Scotland, by the large secession from its ranks, which 
the Free Church movement has occasioned. I much fear that 
the result will justify the disinclination which Lord John -Russell 
appears, from the first, to have entertained to any legislation by 
the Imperial Parliament upon this question. It is an evil of no 
small magnitude on a subject of this nature, that while the more 
violent and unscrupulous of the opponents of the existing settle- 
ment are enabled to create a prejudice against it, by representing 
it to be the result of Imperial interference in a matter of provin- 


cial concern, its friends are tempted rather to endeavor to in- 
fluence opinion in England than to resort to measures which may- 
strengthen their position in the colony. 
I have, &c., 

(Signed Elgin and Kincardine. 

The Eight Hon. The Earl Grey, 
&c, &c, &c. 

In due course Earl Grey informed the Governor General, in 
reply, that, " consistently with the principles on which they have 
" always held that the Government of Canada ought to be con- 
" ducted, it was impossible to advise her Majesty to refuse to 
" comply with the prayer of the address of the Assembly." In a 
later despatch, Earl Grey acquainted the Governor General with 
the circumstances under which " Her Majesty's Government are 
" compelled to postpone to another session the introduction of the 
" bill." Satisfied with Earl Grey's reply, Mr. Price moved in the 
session of 1851 the following resolution : — 

" Resolved, — That an humble address be presented to Her Most 
Gracious Majesty, thanking her Majesty for the gracious manner 
in which she has been pleased to receive the address of this 
House of last session on the subject of the Clergy Reserves, and 
to assure her Majesty of the great satisfaction which it has 
afforded to this House and the Province at large to learn, from 
the despatch of the Eight Honorable Earl Grey, her Majesty's 
Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, communicating 
her Majesty's gracious reception of the said address, that it has 
appeared to her Majesty's Imperial Ministers that such address 
ought to be acceded to, and that they would accordingly be pre- 
pared to recommend to the Imperial Parliament that an act 
should be framed giving to the Provincial Legislature full autho- 
rity to make such alterations as they may think fit in the existing 
arrangements with regard to those Eeserves, provided that existing 
interests are respected." 

Mr. Henry John Boulton moved in amendment — 

" That the most direct, clear, and satisfactory mode of convey- 
ing to the Queen and her Imperial Parliament the wishes of the 
Legislature of Canada, on the subject of the Clergy Eeserves, 
would be to pass an act containing all the provisions intended to 
be adopted, with a clause suspending its operation until it shall 
have received the express sanction of the British Parliament — a 
course which was most satisfactorily followed upon the subject of 
the Civil List in 1846. 


"Resolved, — That the Hon. Messrs. Price, Baldwin, Cayley, 
Morrison, and the mover, be a committee to draught and report a 
bill to this House accordingly." 

There were two decided objections in the opinion of Mr. Bald- 
win, and those with whom he acted, to Mr. Boulton's amendment. 
1st. It was well known that there were strong objections in Eng- 
land, and especially in the House of Lords, to the secularization of 
the Clergy Reserves. It was believed that — while in deference to 
the constitutional right of the Canadian Parliament to legislate as 
it saw fit on a local question, Parliament might consent to repeal 
the Imperial act and to place the disposition of the Reserves in 
the hands of the local Legislature — it would be infinitely more 
difficult to procure its sanction to an act containing all the provi- 
sions intended to be adopted ; in other words, provisions for the 
secularization of the Reserves. No one can read the despatches 
of Earl Grey without being convinced of his sincerity. One of 
the reasons assigned for postponing the introduction of the bill 
for the repeal of the Imperial act, was the wish of the Government 
" to bring the measure forward in the manner best calculated to 
iC ensure success." 

Lord Derby had, as is well known, a majority of supporters in 
the House of Lords, and the subsequent policy of that nobleman's 
Government may be taken as affording proof that if Lord Grey 
had introduced his bill in 1851 it would have been defeated. 
No one who impartially studies the parliamentary proceedings 
of 1851 can arrive at any other conclusion than that the 
postponement of the Clergy Reserve Bill in that year was a wise 
determination on the part of Lord John Russell's Government, 
then in a tottering position. It would have been most unwise 
for tfre Canadian Reformers to have placed new difficulties in the 
way of a minister pledged to use his endeavors to comply with 
the address to the Crown which all had concurred in a year 
before. But secondly. Had an attempt been made to legislate 
in accordance with public opinion it would have involved the 
breaking up of the administration. Mr. Lafontaine, Mr. Cauchon, 
Mr. Chauveau and other Lower Canadians had voted against the 
resolution of Mr. Price, which affirmed that " no religious 
<( denomination can be held to have such vested interests in the 
ii revenue derived from the proceeds of the said Clergy Reserves 
" as should prevent further legislation with reference to the 


" disposal of them," and would have voted against any bill that 
Mr. Boulton's committee would have reported. On the other 
hand, Mr. Lafontaine was strongly in favor of the settlement of 
the question by the Canadian Parliament, and was willing to go 
heartily for the repeal of the Imperial Act. It was not deemed 
prudent to precipitate a disruption of the Reform party on a 
question on which, by general admission, it was out of the power 
of the Canadian Parliament to legislate. Mr. Boulton's amend- 
ment was lost on a division of 5 to 52. Mr. Win. Lyon 
Mackenzie moved an amendment, the division on which was 4 to 
56. Mr. Cayley and Mr. Sherwood moved amendments in a 
Conservative sense, which were lost — 13 to 50 and 10 to 46, and 
the address was finally carried by 45 to 16, the minority 
including four or five Reformers with the Conservatives. Such 
was the action of the House in 1851. During that session, Mr.. 
Baldwin resigned as a member of the administration, and Mr. 
Lafontaine announced his contemplated withdrawal from public 
life. A general election was at hand, and prior to that the 
Governor-General entrusted me with the formation of a new- 
administration, which I formed on the clear understanding with 
Mr. Morin that the secularization of the Clergy Reserves would 
be a cabinet question. At this critical moment, the Hon. George- 
Brown addressed a series of letters to me, in which he stated his- 
reasons for opposing the new administration. I have already 
made a brief quotation from one, and shall add an extract, 
specially relating to the Clergy Reserves : — 


" I now come to the great question of the Clergy Reserves. I 
think you erred greatly in not having it settled with your French 
Canadian colleagues that this was to be treated as a Ministerial 
question, ere you assented to the Rebellion Losses Bill. I do not 
doubt, however, that you entertained the full conviction, until 
immediately preceding the Session of 1850, that Mr. Lafontaine 
and his adherents would go with you cordially on that subject. 
When they refused to do so, it became a question whether you 
ought to resign. I had no doubt, at the opening of Parliament, 
in May, 1850, that Mr. Price and you were desirous of settling* 
the Reserves, as the Upper Canada Reform party demand, and 
that you were much disappointed that you could not have that 
settlement made a Ministerial question ; and I fully agreed with 
you that, in the then state of the question, the Provincial Parlia- 


ment had not power of itself to set aside the Imperial Act of 
1840, and that the consent of the Imperial Parliament must be 
had to any Canadian legislation on the subject. I also agreed 
with you that, as your colleagues were willing to go with you for 
an Address to the Crown to restore the control of the Reserves 
to the Provincial Parliament ; and as the difference between you 
arose, not on the steps you proposed taking, but on the argument 
on which such control should be claimed — and on the future 
appropriation of the lands when obtained — you were not called 
upon to resign ; but were justified in carrying your preliminary 
Address to the Crown as aii*open question, and taking your stand 
when the practical question came up, What shall be done with 
the lands ? It is still quite clear that this was the right ground ; 
for if you had then resigned, no advance would have been made 
on the question until after a new election, then two years off \ 
and you would thereby have lost the opportunity, which no true 
Reformer doubted you would meantime have seized, to place the 
representation and suffrage on such footing, ere the election, as 
would free the Upper Canada Liberals from their position of 
dependence on their Lower Canada allies. I also agreed with 
the contents of Mr. Price's resolutions, though decidedly prefer- 
ring Mr. Morrison's amendment, asking the control of the 
Eeserves, free from any restriction. I opposed the proposition 
to pass an ordinary Bill settling the question, because I did not 
agree with the friends of that measure when they contended 
that the Act of 1840 had not repealed the power given us to 
legislate by the Act of 1791. With you, I considered that the 
Act of 1840 did bar Provincial legislation, and that to proceed 
in the face of it would bring us into collision with the Home 
Government. Moreover, I considered that such a Bill must 
receive, as all Bills have to receive, the assent of the Mother 
Country ere becoming law, and that this would be much more 
easily obtained by a courteous, though firm, representation of 
facts, and invitation to action, than by rudely attempting to- 
force an Act of our own down the Imperial throat. 

Up to the meeting of Parliament this year, therefore, I was with 
you on the Reserve question, and did not doubt your perfect good 
faith in regard to it. That opinion has undergone a very great 
change in consequence of your subsequent proceedings; and 
though I do not doubt that were you to carry out your own 
convictions you would act as the cause of justice demands, I am 
satisfied you are prepared to sacrifice your principles and your 
party, even on this question, to subserve your own ends. 

The speech from the throne at the opening of the Session was- 
calculated to excite strong suspicion as to your earnestness on the 
subject. In the coldest manner possible, it merely alluded to 
Lord Grey's reply to the address of the House — expressed no- 
feeling — indicated no further movement on the subject ! The 


despatches were, however, promised to be communicated, and 
when received it appeared that the Home Government assented 
to the demand of the people of Canada, and would at some future 
day transfer back the power of disposing of the Reserves to the 
Provincial Parliament. No time was fixed, however, — no hurry 
about the matter seemed to be conceived necessary, and suspicion 
was consequently aroused that Lord Grey had received a hint 
that prompt action would be inconvenient for the Provincial 
Cabinet. These suspicions received ten-fold strength when it 
appeared that in sending Mr. Price's resolutions to the Colonial 
Office, the Governor General had bee'n advised by you and your 
colleagues to use language in the despatch accompanying them 
calculated seriously to injure the cause at home. In this despatch 
his Lordship wrote that he " deeply regrets the revival of agitation 
on this (the Clergy Reserve') subject" — and he goes on thus : — 

" It is an evil of no small magnitude on a subject of this nature, that 
while the more violent and unscrupulous of the opponents of the existing settlement are 
enabled to create a prejudice against it by representing it to be the result of 
Imperial interference in a matter of provincial concern, its friends are tempted 
rather to endeavor to influence opinion in England than to resort to measures 
which may strengthen their position in the colony P 

Well did it become you, indeed, to pronounce the Reformers of 
Upper Canada " violent and unscrupulous," because they sought 
to abolish an " existing settlement " — bless your new-born fastidi- 
ousness! — by declaiming against which you raised yourself to 
your present position ! Who was ever more " violent and unscru- 
pulous " than yourself on this or any other question? Well it 
suited you, forsooth, to preach down such language to the Volun- 
taries of Upper Canada, who placed you on your perch ! And 
let me not forget your timely hint to the "friends" of the 
Reserves, to " resort to measures which may strengthen their position 
" in the colony /" No man can doubt that this recommendation 
was thrown to Bishop Strachan and his coadjutors here and in 
England designedly and of forethought ; quite certain is it that 
the clerical agitation — the "church unions," the "pastoral 
addresses," and the " lay delegations " — which immediately 
sprang up throughout the land, were the fruit of this despatch 
from a Reform Administration ; and as little doubtful is it now 
that in this whole affair you were purposely holding out the right 
hand of fellowship to High Churchism, and telling her, as you did 
afterwards by votes and speeches not to be mistaken, We, the 
present Ministry, are not among "the violent and unscrupulous" 
opponents of "the Lord Bishop of Toronto" — we are not among 
the "Pharisaical brawlers" of Upper Canada — we are in favour 
of "vested rights," and won't suffer them to be touched — we 
■" deeply regret" the "strong feeling" against the Church of 
England, but will " endeavour to do justice to her" — we will get 


the Home Government to throw the Reserve question over the 
election, and moantime you can try to raise a storm in the coun- 
try — W e mean to keep office, and circumstances may occur which 
will cast us into the same boat with you!" 

I shall as briefly as possible offer some explanatory remarks on 
the foregoing extract. Though the letter is personally addressed 
to me, Mr. Baldwin was my leader in 1849, and he, if any one, 
il erred " in not making his support of the Rebellion Losses Bill 
conditional on Mr. Lafontaine's adhesion to the secularization of 
the Clergy Reserves. I am perfectly certain that nothing would 
have induced Mr. Baldwin to adopt such a line of action, and I am 
equally certain that Mr. Lafontaine would not have sacrificed his 
convictions on one measure to secure support for another. Such 
a proceeding would have been justly characterized as log-rolling. 
The letter proceeds to justify all our policy on the Clergy Reserve 
question, the writer declaring, "up to the meeting of Parlia- 
" ment this year, therefore, I was with you on the Reserve 
" question, and did not doubt your perfect good faith in regard to 
" it." The question then is, are the grounds stated by the 
writer adequate to justify the * suspicions " which induced him to 
declare himself satisfied that I was prepared to sacrifice my prim 
ciples and my party to subserve my own ends ? There was suspi- 
cion aroused that Lord Grey " had received a hint that prompt 
u action would be inconvenient to the Provincial Cabinet." It is 
difficult, of course, to defend oneself from suspicions. There 
never was even the shadow of a ground for them ; and Lord Grey, 
an English nobleman of unblemished honour, declared, in a des- 
patch made public at the time, that the chief cause for delay was 
a desire to ensure the success of the measure. Lord Elgin's repu- 
tation stands, I think, sufficiently high to shield him from the 
imputation of such a trick, — and Messrs. Lafontaine and Baldwin, 
then the leaders of the Administration, were not men to whom 
such practices were imputed by those most in opposition to them. 
The speech from the throne made precisely the proper reference 
to the subject. It promised the despatch in reply to the address 
from the House, and left the House to take the proper action, 
which it did in due course, by assuring Her Majesty of their 
satisfaction at the assurance given them that the prayer of their 
address would be complied with. But then the suspicions received 
ten-fold strength from the Governor's despatch transmitting the 


address for which I was made responsible, although it has never 
been held, to my knowledge, by any Canadian statesman, that the 
Governor General of Canada writes his desj>atches to the Secre- 
tary of State, on the advice of his Ministers. Earl Grey had a 
right to Lord Elgin's unbiassed opinion of the address of the 
House of Assembly, which he transmitted, and which in terms 
sufficiently explicit, conveyed the wishes of that body. Lord 
Elgin's personal opinions were certainly against secularization. 
I am not of opinion, however, that the despatch was calculated 
to injure the popular cause, and the decision of the Imperial 
Government is the best proof that it was not. Be that as it may, 
I entirely disclaim all responsibility for the Governor's despatch, 
and yet my condemnation avowedly rested on a document which 
I solemnly declare I never saw until about the time when it be- 
came public. It never entered into the imagination of Mr. Lafon- 
taine or Mr. Baldwin, or of any other statesman with whom I 
have been associated, that the administration was politically re- 
sponsible for the Governor's despatches to the Secretary of State, 
conveying his opinions on questions of policy. I must proceed to 
the action of the new administration. Early in 1852 I visited 
England as one of a deputation on the subject of the Intercolonial 
Eailway. I sailed for England on the 4th of March of that year, 
shortly after my return from the Maritime Provinces, whither I 
went in the preceding January, accompanied by the Honbles. Col. 
Tache* and John Young. On the 25th February, a memorandum 
was agreed to by the members of the Government as to pressing 
the repeal of the Imperial Act, although no doubt was entertained 
as to the intentions of the Government. It was not until my ar- 
rival in England that I learned that the Whig Government had 
resigned and had been succeeded by Lord Derby, who made his 
exposition of policy on 27th February. I felt the necessity of 
having my hands strengthened, and immediately communicated 
with my colleagues, and I shall proceed to submit the various 
documents commencing with my letter enclosing the minute of 
Council : — 

Copy of a letter from F. Hincks, Esq., to the Eight Honorable Sir 
John S. Pakington, Bart. 

Morley's Hotel, London, May 3, 1852. 
Sir, — I have the honor to enclose a copy of an approved Report 
of the Committee of the Executive Council of Canada, dated the 


7th ultimo, which I received by the last mail. I have learned 
through the medium of the public journals, that Her Majesty's 
Government has determined to take no action in the question of 
the Clergy Reserves during the present session of Parliament ; 
and however much I may regret that decision, I am well aware 
that, under the circumstances, it is irrevocable. I have already 
had an opportunity of urging, during the interview with which 
you were good enough to honor me, the importance of settling 
this long vexed question as speedily as possible. It was my duty 
to state that the number of those who insist on the present 
settlement is very small, and I may now add that one of the 
leading opposition newspapers in Upper Canada, and in the 
interest of the Church of England, has come out distinctly for 
a new scheme of distribution. I would press on Her Majesty's 
Government more formally what I have already urged in my 
conversation with you, that if, as has been alleged, the present 
Canadian Parliament is favorable to the views of the Church of 
England, it is surely the best time for that church to procure a 
settlement that will be regarded as constitutional. I can assure 
Her Majesty's Government, with the utmost sincerity, that there 
will be no end to agitation in Canada if the attempt be made to 
settle this question permanently according to the public opinion 
of England instead of that of the province itself; and I may add 
that it is well known that many who are opponents of the secular- 
ization of the Clergy Reserves are on constitutional grounds in 
favor of a settlement by the Provincial Parliament. I believe that, 
after the assurance given by the late Government, it will be 
found impossible to protract very long the repeal of the Imperial 
Act; and I have no hesitation in affirming that no interests 
will suffer more by delay than those of the Church of England. 
If Her Majesty's Government desire, before determining on their 
line of action on this question, to ascertain the views of the 
present Canadian Parliament, I would respectfully beg to be 
informed of their decision. 
I have, &c, 

(Signed) Francis Hincks. 

Sir J. S. Pakington, Bart., 
&c, &c, &c. 


Extract from a Report of a Committee of the Honorable the 
Executive Council on Matters of State, dated *lth April, 1852, 
approved by his Excellency the Governor-General in Council on the 
same day. 

The Committee have had under consideration the memorandum 
of the President of the Committee of Council on the propriety of 
instructing the Honorable the Inspector-General to ascertain the 


views of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of a repeal of 
the Imperial Act 3 & 4 Vict., c. 78, in conformity with the 
addresses to Her Most Gracious Majesty from both branches of 
the Canadian Legislature at its last session, on the subject of the 
Clergy Eeserves. 

The assurances of Her Majesty's late Government that such 
action would be taken, had prepared the people of Canada to 
expect that no further delay would take place in meeting their 
just wishes upon a question of such paramount importance to 
them ; the Committee therefore recommend that their colleague 
the Inspector-General, while in England, be requested by the 
provincial secretary to seek an interview with Her Majesty's 
Ministers, and represent to them the importance of carrying out 
the pledges of their predecessors on the subject of the Clergy 
Reserves, and thus empower the colonial legislature to deal with 
the question in accordance with the well-understood wishes of the 
people of Canada. 


(Signed) Wm. H. Lee. 

The Hon. the Provincial Secretary, 
&c, &c, &c. 

Copy of a letter from the Earl of Desart to F. Hincks, Esq. 

Downing Street, May 7, 1852. 

Sir, — I am directed by Secretary Sir John Pakington to 
acknowledge your letter of the 3rd instant, transmitting an 
extract from an approved Report of a Committee of the Executive 
Council of Canada, dated 7th April, instructing you to represent 
to Her Majesty's Ministers the importance of carrying out the 
pledges of their predecessors on the subject of the Clergy 

Sir J. Pakington desires me to inform you, that until the 
receipt of your communication he was not aware of the existence 
of the Report of which you now send him a copy, Lord Elgin 
not having as yet transmitted it to this department. Being thus 
without information that you were officially instructed to 
communicate with Her Majesty's Government on that particular 
subject. Sir J. Pakington did not think it necessary to announce 
to you their determination upon it, as he unquestionably would 
have done if he had been aware that your missson to this country 
was connected with it. I am now directed by Sir J. Pakington 
to enclose to you a copy of the despatch which he addressed to 
Lord Elgin on the 22nd ultimo, communicating the decision of 
Her Majesty's Government. 

I have, &c, 

(Signed) Desart. 


Copy of a Despatch from Sir John S. Pakington, Bart., to the 
Earl of Elgin and Kincardine. 

Downing Street, April 22, 1852. 
My Lord, — By a Despatch of my predecessor, Earl Grey, of 
the 11th July last, you were informed that Her Majesty's then 
servants found themselves compelled to postpone to another 
session the introduction into Parliament of a Bill giving to the 
Canadian Legislature authority to alter the existing arrangement 
with regard to the Clergy Reserves. 

2. With reference to that intimation, I have now to inform, 
you that it is not the intention of Her Majesty's present advisers 
to propose such a measure to Parliament this session. 

3. They have, in the first place, taken into consideiation that, 
since any opinion upon this difficult subject was expressed by the 
Legislature of Canada, a general election has taken place in the 
Province, and it is as yet uncertain what the views of the new 
Assembly as to the disposal of the Clergy Reserves may be. 

4. But, independently of that circumstance, Her Majesty's 
Government feel serious doubts how far they would be able to 
give their consent and support to an arrangement, the result of 
which would too probably be the diversion to other purposes of 
the only public fund, except that devoted to the endowment of 
the Roman Catholic Church, which now exists for the support of 
Divine worship and religious instruction in the colony. 

5. While it appears to Her Majesty's Government that, under 
the distribution authorized by the Clergy Reserves Act, 3 & 4 
Yict. c 78, of the proceeds of the sales of the reserved lands, no 
ground is left for reasonable jealousy or complaint of undue 
favour to particular religious denominations, they think it may 
possibly be desirable, on account of the changes which may be 
effected in the character of the population through extensive 
immigration or other causes, that the distribution in question 
should from time to time be reconsidered. 

6. Any proposals of such a nature Her Majesty's Government 
would be willing to entertain; but they are of opinion that they 
could only regard any measure which would place it in the power 
of an accidental majority of the colonial legislature, however 
small, to divert for ever from its e acred object the fund arising 
from that portion of the public lands of Canada which, almost 
from the period of the British conquest of that Province, has 
been set apart for the religious instruction of the people, with 
the most serious doubt and hesitation how far they should be 
justified in advising Her Majesty to give Her consent to such an 

7. These views on the part of Her Majesty's Government, with 
respect to a proposal so deeply and permanently affecting the 
interests of Canada, cannot but derive additional strength from 
the numerous petitions, having many thousand signatures, which 


have been addressed both to the Queen and to the Parliament of 
the United Kingdom, praying that the existing Act relating to 
the Clergy Reserves may continue in force. — I have, &c. 

(Signed,) John S. Pakington. 
Governor the Right Hon. ^ 

The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, > 
&c, &c.j &c. ) 

Copy of a letter from F. Hincks, Esq., to the Bight Honorable Sir 
John S. Pakington, Bart. 

Morley's Hotel, London, May 10, 1852. 

Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a letter 
from the Earl of Desart, dated the 7th instant, enclosing a copy 
of your despatch to Governor-General the Earl of Elgin and 
Kincardine, dated the 22nd ultimo, communicating the decision 
of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of the Canada 
Clergy Reserves, and I have to express my grateful acknowledg- 
ments therefor. It is probable that as the approved Report of 
the Committee of the Executive Council of Canada was sent to 
me for the purpose of being delivered to Her Majesty's 
Government, it was deemed unnecessary by his Excellency the 
Governor General to transmit another copy; but you will, I 
think, find on enquiry, that his Excellency has communicated 
to you a copy of a memorandum agreed to at a meeting of the 
members of the Council on the 25th February, prior to my 
departure, by which I was instructed " to press upon the consider- 
ation of Her Majesty's Government the importance of procuring 
the assent of the Imperial Parliament as soon as possible, to a Bill 
for repealing the Imperial Act, 3 & 4 Yict. c. 78, providing for 
the sale of the Clergy Reserves in Canada, and for the distribution 
of the proceeds thereof, as prayed for by addresses from both 
houses of the provincial Parliament, and for authorizing the 
provincial Parliament to legislate on the subject of those 

I trust that the existence of these instructions, followed up as 
they have been by the approved Report of Council, which I had 
the honor to transmit in my letter of the 3rd instant, will be a 
sufficient apology for my offering some remarks on your despatch 
of the 22nd ultimo, which shall be made in a spirit of the highest 
respect to Her jM ajesty 's Government. Had the addresses from 
the two houses of the Canadian Legislature prayed for any par- 
ticular distribution of the income arising from the Clergy Reserve 
Fund, there most unquestionably would have been grave ob- 
jections to any Imperial action to be founded on the opinions of 
a Parliament which had ceased to exist. But I would respect- 
fully urge, that there can be no reasonable ground for doubt, that 
the great majority of the people of Canada desire that this ques- 


tion, which is one of local interest, should be disposed of by their 
own Parliament. I need not, however, press this point further, 
because I am well aware that legislation during the present ses- 
sion of the Imperial Parliament is now out of the question, and 
that before any further action could be taken by Her Majesty's 
Government, the new Canadian Parliament will have an oppor- 
tunity of expressing its views on the subject. But I am bound 
by a sense of duty to Her Majesty to express to Her confidential 
advisers, that it is with the most serious alarm that I have read 
the concluding portion of your despatch. Most devotedly 
attached as I am to the maintenance of the subsisting connexion 
between the mother country and the British American colonies, I 
cannot view without grave apprehension the prospect of col- 
lision between Her Majesty's Government and the Parliament 
of Canada, on a question regarding which such strong feelings 
prevail among the great mass of the population. Such a diffi- 
culty is the more to be regretted, because the question of the 
Clergy Beserves is the only one, so far as I am aware, at all 
likely to lead to collision. It happens, most unfortunately, that 
public opinion in England differs very widely from that in 
Canada, on questions at all partaking of a religious character \ 
and as the people of Canada are convinced that they are better 
judges than any parties in England can be, of what measures 
will best conduce to the peace and welfare of the province, Her 
Majesty's Government will, I trust, perceive that the danger 
which I apprehend is at least deserving of the most grave 
consideration. I cannot have the slightest doubt that the 
members of Her Majesty's Government are actuated by the most 
earnest desire to promote the best interests of Canada, and that 
if they could be brought to believe that I have given a faithful 
account of the state of public opinion there, they would be 
disposed to yield their own wishes for the sake of the peace of the 
colony. I am quite ready to acknowledge the high respectability 
of the petitioners against the repeal of the Clergy Beserves Act. 
The bishops, clergy, and an influential portion of the laity of 
the Church of England, the clergy and a portion of the laity 
of the Church of Scotland, are doubtless in favor of the 
present settlement, which, indeed, confers on the Church of 
Scotland an income wholly beyond its requirements in 
Canada ; while the majority of the Presbyterian population 
neither receive any share of the endowment, nor desire to par- 
ticipate in it.. While, however, I admit the respectability of the 
petitioners, I think that I am justified in affirming that they do 
not represent anything like a majority of the population of 
Canada; indeed, the very fact that they on all occasions endeavour 
to accomplish their wishes by appealing not to their own repre- 
sentatives in Parliament, but to the Imperial Parliament, is con- 
clusive proof that they are themselves conscious that their views 


are not in accordance with public opinion in Canada. I forbear 
from entering into the consideration of the probable action of the 
Canadian Legislature on the Clergy Reserves question, because I 
am anxious to impress on Her Majesty's Government that, 
although there may be wide differences of opinion among the 
opponents of the present arrangement as to the best mode of set- 
tling the question, a vast majority of the people are agreed as to 
the necessity of its being effected by provincial legislation; and I 
am aware that some of the best friends of the Church of England 
question the soundness of the policy which has influenced the 
promoters of the petitions lately presented to Parliament to look 
for support to their views in England, instead of using their legiti- 
mate influence over public opinion in Canada. I do not by any 
means desire to conceal from Her Majesty's Government that, 
saving always the right of existing incumbents, a very strong 
feeling prevails, especially in Upper Canada, in favour of the 
secularization of the Clergy Reserves ; but I ought not to omit 
reminding them that, although it is true that the portion of pub- 
lic lands known as Clergy Reserves was set apart for the religious 
instruction of the peoj)le at a very early period, and when there 
were very few inhabitants in the colony, it is likewise true that 
power was expressly given to the Provincial Legislature " to 
vary or repeal " the clauses in the Act 31 George III., setting 
apart these lands ; that successive Houses of Assembly remons- 
trated against giving effect to them, and that so firmly were the 
advisers of His late Majesty King William IY. impressed with 
the necessity of getting rid of this most perplexing question, that 
Secretary Yiscount Goderich, in a despatch dated 21st November, 
1831, communicated the Royal instructions that a bill, framed in 
England, should be submitted to the Provincial Legislature for 
the purpose of getting rid entirely of the endowment. The 
people of Canada know well the cause of the failure in carrying 
out the gracious intentions of His late Majesty, as well as their 
own repeatedly expressed wishes. The opinions of the mass of 
the people have never wavered during the last twenty-five years, 
although circumstances have from time to time induced them to 
pause in their efforts, in order to concentrate public opinion on 
questions more deeply affecting their constitutional rights. I 
cannot, therefore, conceive that any action which the Canadian 
Parliament may take of the nature referred to in the despatch, 
could be correctly designated as the result of an accidental majo- 
rity. All the great questions which have been settled in England 
during the last fifty years might be said, with equal justice, to 
have been carried by accidental majorities ; and if a supposition 
on the part of Her Majesty's Government that any majority in 
the Canadian Parliament expressing views antagonistic to their 
own was an accidental one, were deemed a sufficient ground for 
resisting that majority, I would most respectfully submit that 


there would be no security whatever for constitutional govern- 
ment. I am well convinced that Her Majesty's advisers have 
every disposition to attach due weight to the clearly expressed 
Opinion of the people of Canada, and I am therefore anxious to 
remind them of, and to urge upon their consideration, the past 
history of the Clergy Eeserves question, which I have endeav- 
oured to glance at as briefly as possible. There is a passage in 
the despatch to the Earl of Elgin which seems to me calculated 
to lead to some misconception. I refer to the paragraph describ- 
ing the Clergy Reserves as the only " public fund, except that 
devoted to the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church." lam 
not aware that any public fund has ever been devoted to the 
endowment of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. Whatever 
property may be in possession of Roman Catholics has been 
obtained principally by private donation or bequest, although in 
some cases there were additional grants from the French Crown, 
which were secured to the possessors at the Conquest. These 
grants were made to communities consisting of ecclesiastics or 
religious ladies, either for charitable or educational purposes, or for 
the conversion of the Indians. If I am correct in this statement, 
as I believe that I am, I most respectfully submit that such 
grants, as those to which I have referred, bear no analogy to the 
Clergy Reserves, and can scarcely be considered as a public fund 
devoted to the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. I 
should not discharge my duty to Her Majesty's Government were 
I not to state to them with perfect frankness my views on another 
paragraph in the despatch, i refer to that in which it is inti- 
mated that Her Majesty's Government would be willing to enter- 
tertain a proposal for reconsidering the mode of distributing the 
income of the Clergy Reserves. I have no hesitation in stating 
it as my conviction that the Canadian Parliament will not invite 
the legislation of the Imperial Parliament regarding the distribu- 
tion of a local fund. Any such proposition would be received as 
one for the violation of the most sacred constitutional rights of 
the people. I am therefore fully convinced that the future ac- 
tion of the Canadian Parliament will be essentially of the same 
character with that which has been already taken. I can assure 
you, Sir, that it is with deep regret that I find myself compelled 
by a sense of public duty to urge upon you views which I fear 
will not meet the approbation of Her Majesty's Government; but 
I trust that I have succeeded in doing so in a respectful manner ; 
and I feel assured that they will receive the consideration which 
the importance of the subject demands, and that Her Majesty's 
advisers will be guided in their final decision by what they 
believe to be for the best interests of Canada. 
I have, &c, 

(Signed,) Francis Hincks. 

Sir J. S. Pakington, Bart., 
&c, &c, &c. 


Copy of Letter from the Earl of Desart to Francis Hincks, Esq. r. 

Downing street, May 17, 1852. 

Sir, — I am directed by Secretary Sir John Pakington to 
acknowledge your letter of the 10th of this month, on the subject 
of the decision of Her Majesty's Government as to# the Clergy 
Reserves question, and to thank you for the representations 
which you have made to them on this and other subjects affecting 
the views and interests of the people of Canada, on which they 
are fully sensible of the value of your opinion. 

2. I am to add that Sir John Pakington has not been able to 
find in the records of this department any trace of the memoran- 
dum agreed to by the Executive Council on the 25th February 
last, to which your letter refers, having been communicated to 
his predecessor or himself. 

I have, &c, 

F. Hincks, Esq. 

(Signed,) Desart. 

During the ensuing session of the Canadian Parliament, it 
became the duty of the writer to move the following series of 
resolutions : — 

1. That whatever differences of opinion may exist among the 
people of Canada as to the best mode of disposing of the revenues 
derived from the lands known as Clergy Eeserves, the great mass 
of the people will ever maintain the principle recognized by the 
Right Honorable the Earl Grey, then Her Majesty's Principal 
Secretary of State for the Colonies, in his despatch of 2fth 
January, 1851, to the Right Honorable the Earl of Elgin and 
Kincardine, that the question whether the existing arrangement 
" is to be maintained or altered is one so exclusively affecting the 
people of Canada, that its decision ought not to be withdrawn 
from the Provincial Legislature, to which it properly belongs to 
regulate all matters concerning the domestic interest of the pro- 

2. That while the people of Canada are devotedly attached to 
Her Majesty's person and Government, and most anxious to 
maintain inviolate the connexion which binds them to the great 
empire over which she rules, yet this House is bound by a high 
sense of duty to inform Her Majesty, that the refusal on the part 
of the Imperial Parliament to comply with the just demand of 
the representatives of the Canadian people on a matter exclusively 
affecting their own interests, will be viewed as a violation of their 
constitutional rights, and will lead to deep and wide-spread dis- 
satisfaction among Her Majesty's Canadian subjects. 

3. That this House is well aware that attempts have been made 
to induce Her Majesty's Imperial Ministers to believe that the 


present representatives of the people of Canada entertain opinions 
on the subject of the repeal of the Clergy Eeserves Act different 
from those expressed by the late Parliament. 

4. That this House confidently hopes, that when Her Majesty's 
Ministers shall be convinced that the opinions of the people of 
Canada and of their representatives on this subject are unaltered 
and unalterable, they will consent to give effect to the promise 
made by their predecessors ; and this House is confirmed in this 
hope by the suggestion in the despatch of the Eight Honourable 
Sir John Pakington, that Her Majesty's Ministers are prepared 
to recommend amendments to the Imperial Clergy Reserves Act, 
with a view to satisfy the wishes of the Canadian people. 

5. That this House can scarcely doubt that, the principle of 
amending the present Act being admitted, Her Majesty's Minis- 
ters will yield to the strong feeling which pervades the Canadian 
people, that any new legislative enactments regarding the Clergy 
Eeserves should be framed by their own representatives, instead 
of by the Imperial Parliament, which, being necessarily un- 
acquainted with the state of public opinion in Canada, cannot be 
expected to concur in a measure that will give permanent satis- 
faction to its inhabitants. 

6. That this House desires to assure Her Majesty, that in thus 
giving expression to the public opinion of the country, it is 
actuated by the strongest feelings of loyalty to Her Majesty, and 
by a sincere desire to prevent those lamentable consequences 
"which must be the result of a collision between the Imperial and 
Provincial Parliaments, on a question on which very strong feel- 
ings are known to prevail among the people of this Province. 

The Address founded on the above resolutions was received in 
England very shortly before the resignation of the Earl of Derby ; 
but a draft despatch, which had been prepared by Sir John 
Pakington for transmission by the mail, 16th December, 1852, 
was laid before Parliament, and as Sir John moved for its pro- 
duction, justice to him requires its insertion here. 

Draft of a Despatch from Sir John S. Pakington to Governor- 
General the Earl of Elgin, prepared for transmission by mail 
of 16th December, 1852. 

Downing Street, December, 1852. 
My Lord, — I have had the honour to receive your Lordship's 
despatch,* No. 85, of the 22nd September, forwarding an address 
to the Queen from the Commons of Canada, in Provincial Parlia- 
ment assembled, on the subject of the Clergy Eeserves. 

* Page 7 of Papers relative to "Clergy Reserves, Canada," presented to 
both Houses of Parliament, by command of Her Majesty, 11th February, 1853. 


2. I have laid this Address before Her Majesty, who was 
pleased to receive it very graciously. 

3. It is with sincere regret that Her Majesty's Government 
feel themselves unable to advise Her Majesty to comply with the 
wishes of the Assembly, for the introduction of a Bill into the 
Imperial Parliament, to repeal the Act 3 and 4 Vic. c. 78. 

4. In arriving reluctantly at this conclusion, Her Majesty's 
advisers disclaim any intention of " violating the constitutional 
rights " of the Canadian Parliament. On the contrary, they 
regard those rights with the high respect which is justly due to 
them, and they fully and distinctly recognize both the justice 
and the propriety of the general rule that in those dependencies 
of the British Crown, which enjoy the advantages of represen- 
tative institutions, questions which affect exclusive!} 7 ' local 
interests, should be decided and dealt with by the Local Govern- 
ment and Legislature. 

5. But Her Majesty's Government are not less clearly of opinion 
that the question of the repeal of the Imperial Act 3 and 4 Vict. 
c. 78, involves interests, and is connected with circumstances,, 
which make it fairly an exception to this general rule. 

6. It is the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government, not 
only to avoid any serious "difference of opinion" with the 
Legislature of Canada, but to act with them, if possible, in friend- 
ly concert, upon a subject of such great and enduring importance^ 
to the Canadian people, especially of the Upper Province. 

7. Her Majesty's Government desire to call the attention of 
the Commons of Canada to the circumstances under which the 
Imperial Act was passed. 

8. After a long period of agitation, and frequent attempts at 
legislation on the part of the Upper Canadian Assembly, an Act 
was passed by the Parliament of that Province for placing the 
disposal of the Clergy Eeserves in the hands of the Imperial 
Parliament. This Act was not confirmed, for reasons stated in 
Lord John Eussell's despatch to Lord Sydenham of the 7th 
February, 1839. Another Act, providing for the sale and disposal 
of the Clergy Eeserves, was subsequently passed by the Provin- 
cial Legislature. This Act would have received the Eoyal Assent, 
but for a legal objection which was found to be insuperable. 

9. In consequence of the legal difficulty to the confirmation by 
the Crown of the Provincial Act, the Act 3 and 4 Vict. c. 78, 
similar in principle, though differing in detail from the Act sent 
from Canada, was passed by the Imperial Parliament. 

10. Her Majesty's Government cannot fail to remember that 
not only was the Imperial Act similar in principle to the Pro- 
vincial Act, but that the former was passed and regarded at the 
same time, both In Canada and this country, as a final settlement 
of a long agitated and most difficult question ; and the settlement. 
of which had moreover been pressed upon the Imperial Govern- 


ment by successive Governors of the Canadian Provinces, and by 
the general wish of the Canadian people. 

11. Her Majesty's Government would further remind the House 
of. Assembly that the generally admitted necessity of permanently 
settling this long debated question, had reference, not only to the 
manifest evils of prolonged agitation, but also to the circumstances 
under which the reunion of the two Provinces of Canada was 
then about to take place. 

12. It was held, and in the opinion of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment it was wisely held, to be of paramount importance, that a 
permanent settlement of the- Clergy Eeserve question should 
precede the Act of reunion. 

13. In considering, therefore, how far it is right or expedient to 
reopen this question, it is impossible for Her Majesty's advisers to 
overlook the fact, that since it has been decided, the two Provinces, 
with a population for the most part distinct both in race and 
religion, have been united under one representative Government. 

14. Her Majesty's advisers have pleasure in expressing their 
high sense of the loyalty and good feeling of the French-Canadian 
population of the Eastern Province. They have the satisfaction 
of believing that friendly feeling between the French and British 
population is steadily and constantly increasing ; and they would 
deprecate, in the most earnest manner, any course of action on 
the part of the Provincial Parliament, which might have the 
least tendency to interrupt those amicable relations which now 
so happily subsist between the two races. 

15. The French population of the Lower Province enjoy the 
blessing of an exemplary, a well educated, and a numerous priest- 
hood, with ample endowments for the support of the priests, and 
for the maintenance of exclusive educational institutions. 

16. From the period of the conquest of Canada till the present 
day, these endowments have been scrupulously respected. 

17. Her Majesty's Government have no disposition to question 
the right or to impugn the motives of such of the representatives 
of the French population of the Eastern Province in the Canadian 
Parliament, as may deem it their duty to vote, either for the 
repeal of the Clergy Eeserve Act, or for the secularization of the 
Clergy Eeserves. Bat they feel a deep interest in the peace and 
welfare of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects in Canada, and 
with past struggles and contentions fresh in their recollection, 
they would earnestly press on the consideration of the Canadian 
Parliament, in no unfriendly spirit, whether there would not be 
danger of reviving feelings of animosity and discontent if the 
British inhabitants of the Upper Province were deprived by the 
Imperial Parliament of that fund for the support of Protestant 
worship which they have so long enjoyed, and which is now, 
whether for general or for missionary purposes, more than ever 


18. I cannot thus communicate the views of Her Majesty's 
Government with respect to the Address of the House of Assem- 
bly which I have now to acknowledge, without repeating, in the 
most distinct terms, that nothing would be more painful to Her 
Majesty's advisers, or more at variance with their real feelings, 
than to be involved in any difference, or controversy with the 
Parliament of Canada, and that their only wish upon this difficult 
subject is to co-operate with the provincial authorities in pro- 
moting the permanent interests of all classes of Her Majesty's 
Canadian subjects. — I have, &c. 

John S. Pakington. 

It seems unnecessary to insert the Duke of Newcastle's despatch 
of 15th January, 1853, announcing the decision of the new Minis- 
try to propose the repeal of the Imperial Act of 1840, which was 
successfully accomplished. 

The decision of the Ministry, which was most fully concurred 
in by Lord Elgin, was not to propose legislation in the expiring 
Parliament; but there was some business of an urgent nature, 
particularly a Bill for giving effect to the Reciprocity treaty, 
that it was deemed advisable to dispose of before the dissolution- 
The House met in 1854, shortly after Lord Elgin's return from 
Washington, to which place he had been accompanied by the 
writer, as the representative of Canadian interests, during the 
negotiation of the treaty. 

It soon became apparent that there would be an attempt to 
carry an amendment to the address in answer to the Governor- 
General's speech, in which the Conservatives, Clear Grits, and 
Rouges, could concur. 

The following despatch from the Earl of Elgin to the Duke of 
Newcastle, contains a clear statement of the circumstances 
which led to a dissolution of the Canadian Parliament in 1854 : 

Copy of a Despatch from Governor-General the Earl of Elgin 
and Kincardine to the Duke of Newcastle. 

Government House, Quebec, June 22, 1854. 
My Lord Duke, — I have the honor to enclose herewith the 
copy of a speech which I delivered from the throne this day in 
proroguing the Parliament of the province, and I begat the same 
time to solicit your Grace's attention, while I state as succinctly 
as I can the grounds on which I formed the resolution which has 
given occasion for the delivery of this speech. 


2. It may probably be in your Grace's recollection, that during 
the course of the last session of the Provincial Parliament, two 
Acts were passed, which had for their object to effect very 
material changes in the constitution of the popular branch of the 
Provincial Legislature. The former of these Acts raised the 
number of parliamentary representatives from 84 to 130, this 
addition to the House of Assembly being so effected as to equalize 
to a greater extent, than is now the case, population and 
representation. By the terms of the Constitutional Act, an Act 
of this nature could not become Law, unless it received in each 
branch of the Legislature, on the second and third readings, the 
support of at least two-thirds of the members. In the passage of 
this Act through the Provincial Parliament these conditions were 
complied with, and having received a notification of this fact by 
addresses in the mode prescribed by the Constitutional Act, I 
assented to it in Her Majesty's name on the 14th June, 1853. 

3. The second of the Acts to which I have referred was entitled, 
11 An Act to extend the Elective Franchise, and better to define 
" the Qualifications of Voters in certain Electoral Divisions, by 
"providing a system for the registration of Yoters," and the in- 
tentions of the Act, as stated in the title, were duly carried out 
in its provisions. 

4. While these proceedings were taking place in the Provin- 
cial Parliament, the Imperial Parliament passed an Act repealing 
the Imperial Statute which had regulated, since the year 1840, the 
distribution of the fund commonly known as the Clergy Eeserve 
Fund of Canada, and leaving the future application of this fund, 
as a matter of local concern, to the determination of the Local 
Legislature. This important statute having been duly sanctioned 
by Her Majesty, reached me shortly before the prorogation of 
the Provincial Parliament. 

5. The course which the Provincial Government ought to take 
at this conjuncture, whether in reference to the measures of con- 
stitutional change which had been enacted by the Local Parlia- 
ment, or the Act respecting the Clergy Eeserves which the 
Imperial Legislature had passed, became necessarily at an early 
period of the recess the subject of deliberation in the Provincial 
Cabinet. Some members of this body were strongly pledged to 
the secularization of the reserves, and it was believed that a pro- 
posal to carry out a measure of this description would be sup- 
ported by a majority in the existing Assembly. After full 
consideration and discussion, however, my Executive Council 
arrived unanimously at the conclusion, that apart altogether from 
the merits of secularization, it would not be consistent with their 
•duty to undertake to legislate upon this subject in the Parliament 
as then constituted. The Clergy Eeserve question was one on 
which it was notorious that the public mind in Upper Canada, 
more especially, was much divided, and the Imperial statute on 


the subject had been repealed for the express purpose of facilitat- 
ing a settlement which would be final, and in accordance with the 
deliberate views and convictions of the people of the province. 
To attempt, therefore, to settle such a question in a Parliament 
which had been already declared by its own vote to be an invper- 
fect representation of the people, and by the exercise of what 
might be deemed the influence of the Government, was a course 
of proceeding obviously open to serious objection. In these views 
of the Executive Council I entirely concurred. 

6. An immediate dissolution of Parliament was apparently the 
readiest mode of escape from the perplexities to which I have re- 
ferred. But here, again, a difficulty presented itself. In order 
to give time for the completion of the system of registration 
which formed part of the measure, the 1st day of January, 1855, 
had been fixed as the period at which the Act for extending the 
franchise should come into operation. To give it effect at an 
earlier time further legislation was required. It was, therefore, 
finally resolved by the Government that the then subsisting Par- 
liament should be allowed to meet again for the purpose of legis- 
lating on this and other necessary matters, preparatory to a 
dissolution, after which the opinion of the Legislature, as con- 
stituted under the extended Eepresentation and Franchise Acts, 
might be taken on those important questions, the settlement of 
which was anxiously desired by the people of the province. 

7. In accordance with this determination, in my speech from 
the throne which I transmitted to your Grace by the last mail, 
with my Despatch ~No. 5, of the 15th instant, I recommended 
the passing of a law for bringing into early operation the Act of 
the preceding session which had extended the elective franchise, 
in order that a constitutional expression of opinion might be 
obtained as speedily as possible under the system of representa- 
tion recently established, on the various important questions on 
which legislation was required, and I invited legislation in the 
then existing Parliament on two other subjects only ; the one of 
these subjects being the Reciprocity Treaty, to give effect to 
which it was desirable that an Act of the Provincial Parliament 
should be passed without delay ; and the other the Tariff, in 
which the prosperous condition of the revenue justified certain 

8. The first amendment to the address was moved by the 
Honorable Mr. Sherwood, a leading member of the Conservative 
party, who objected to the late period at which the Parliament 
had been convened. The explanations on this head, however, 
were deemed sufficient by the majority of the Assembly, and the 
amendment was accordingly rejected by 40 votes to 29. Mr. 
Cauchon, a French Canadian member, then moved, that at the 
end of the fourth paragraph of the address in answer to the- 
speech delivered at the opening of the session, the following 


words should be inserted: — "That this House sees with regret 
" that his Excellency's Government do not intend to submit to 
" the Legislature during the present session a bill for the 
11 immediate settlement of the Seigniorial question ; " to which 
amendment Mr. Hartman, an Upper Canada member, of the 
Liberal party, moved as an amendment, to leave out all the 
words after " House," and add the following instead thereof: — 
" regret that his Excellency has not been advised to recommend 
11 during the present session a measure for the secularization of 
" the Clergy Eeserves, and also a measure for the abolition of the 
" Seigniorial tenure." The Ministerial and Conservative parties 
concurred in opposing this motion, which was accordingly 
defeated by a majority of 54 votes to 16. Mr. Sicotte, another 
French Canadian member, then moved that the words " or one 
" for the immediate settlement of the Clergy Eeserves," should 
be carried to the end of Mr. Cauchon's amendment, and this 
motion was carried by 42 votes against 29 ; the Conservative 
members availing themselves of the ambiguity of the word 
" settlement," to join the party who were censuring the adminis- 
tration for not having introduced during the then session a bill 
for the secularization of the Clergy Eeserves. 

9. It will be obvious to your Grace, from the above statement 
of facts, that a most embarrassing situation was created by this 
vote. It pledged the then subsisting Parliament to settle the 
question of the Clergy Eeserves, and it was carried by a com- 
bination of parties holding opposite views with respect to the 
terms on which the settlement should be effected. It was my 
decided opinion that no measure on this subject short of a 
measure of entire secularization could possibly have been carried 
through that House of Assembly, with the prospect, more 
especially, of an immediate dissolution hanging over the heads 
of its members. Against a measure of secularization carried 
under such circumstances the friends of religious endowments 
would, I conceived, have had good cause to complain. But if, on 
the other hand, out of the heterogeneous elements of which the 
majority was composed, I had been able to form a Conservative 
Administration, and with the aid of that Administration to pass 
a measure for perpetuating the endowment, 1 felt confident that 
in place of settling this vexed question, I should by so doing only 
have given the signal for renewed and more violent agitation. 
The advocates of secularization would never have admitted the 
permanency of a settlement effected by a Parliament so peculiarly 
circumstanced, and the Ministerial party might reasonably have 
been expected to assert in opposition the views on this subject 
for which they had incurred the sacrifice of office. Moreover, the 
position of the House of Assembly itself, in reference to the point 
which had been raised, was an anomalous one. On the issue, 
whether or not it was seemly that a certain class of questions. 


should be dealt with before the dissolution, which would bring 
into operation a more perfect system of popular representation, 
that body might be said to be a party to the suit. Its verdict, 
therefore, in the particular case, could hardly be held to carry 
with it the authority which, under ordinary circumstances, would 
attach to the decision of the popular branch of the Legislature. 
It is further to be observed, that the Legislative Council, by the 
terms of their address in reply to the speech from the throne 
which I transmitted in my Despatch No. 5, of the 15th instant, 
had virtually expressed their approval of the policy adopted by 
the Administration. 

10. Under these circumstances, when the Members of the 
Executive Council informed me that they were prepared to ask 
the judgment of the country on the policy of the postponement 
of the Clergy Eeserve and Seigniorial Tenure questions, which 
they had adopted with my full approval and sanction, I did not 
think that I should be justified in refusing to act on the advice 
tendered by them, and to dissolve Parliament for this purpose; 
and having obtained from the Law Officers of the Crown a joint 
opinion in favour of the legality of the course recommended to 
me, I summoned the House of Assembly to the Council Chamber 
in the usual manner, and delivered the speech, of which the eopy 
is herewith enclosed. — I have, &c. 

(Signed) Elgin and Kincardine. 

The Duke of Newcastle, &c, &c. 

Enclosure in No. 2. 
Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council. 
Gentlemen of the Legislative Assembly. 

When I met you at the commencment of the present session, 
I expressed the hope that you would proceed without delay to 
pass such a law in reference to the period appointed for intro- 
ducing the amended franchise, as would have enabled me to bring 
at once into operation those important measures affecting the 
representation of the people in Parliament, which were adopted 
by you with singular unanimity last session. Having been disap- 
pointed in this expectation, I still consider that it is due to the 
people of the province, and most respectful to the decision of the 
Legislature, that I should take such steps as are in my power to 
give effect to the law by which the Parliamentary representation 
of the people is augmented, before calling the attention of 
Parliament to questions on which the public mind has been long 
agitated, and the settlement of which it is most desirable to effect 
in such a manner as will be most likely to secure for it the con- 
fidence of the people. 

I have come, therefore, to meet you on the present occasion 
for the purpose of proroguing this Parliament with a view to an 
immediate dissolution. 


I shall comment but briefly on the foregoing papers. I can 
readily believe that passages in my letter to Sir John Pakington 
might be cited as justifying suspicions as to my intentions 
regarding secularization. % I was not of opinion that in discussing 
the Clergy Reserve question with the Imperial Ministers I was 
called upon to express my individual opinions, or even those of 
the administration of which I was a member. I contended that 
as between England and Canada it was a question of constitutional 
right, and that the soundest policy was to adhere strictly to the 
one point, the repeal of the Imperial Act. The policy which my 
opponents preferred would probably have caused the disruption 
of the Reform party a couple of years sooner, and, judging from 
events, might have postponed the repeal of the Clergy Reserves 
Act for a long period of years. I can hardly believe that after 
reading the foregoing statement of facts it will be contended that 
either Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Lafontaine opposed the reopening of 
the question, or sought to maintain the Imperial settlement. 
Mr. Baldwin voted for the declaration that no religious denom- 
ination had any vested interests to prevent future legislation. It 
is now a matter of indifference as to whether our policy was right 
or wrong, but even those who think that we were wrong in the 
mode which we adopted, under circumstances of considerable 
difficulty, should at least refrain from charging us with being 
opposed to the secularization of the Clergy Reserves. My old 
surviving friends will I am sure bear in mind that the motto of 
the old Toronto Examiner was, in the darkest period of our history, 
" Responsible Government and the Voluntary Principle," the 
motto of the party of which Mr. Baldwin was the recognized leader 
and from which neither he nor I ever wavered. With regard to 
the position taken in 1854, that such questions as the Clergy 
Reserves and the Seigniorial Tenure ought only to be dealt with 
by the Reformed Parliament, I rest my justification on English 
practice on the occasion of their Reform acts, but Lord Elgin has 
put the case of his Ministers so ably in his despatch that I need 
not add a word. On the other points of difference, such as the 
right of Roman Catholics to separate schools, to Acts of incor- 
poration for their charitable and educational institutions, and to 
money grants in aid so long as such grants were given at all, I 
need only observe that my opinions are unchanged, but I have 
no complaint to make as to their having been misrepresented as 
they have been in the case of the Clergy Reserves.] 


In the Parliament elected in 1851, there were occasional eviden- 
ces of a disposition, on the part of the Liberal Opposition,to coalesce 
with the Conservative Opposition to embarrass the Government. 
The number inclined to take this couifse was still small ; but the 
publication of the votes was, of course, not without its effect in 
shaking confidence. The minority on the sectarian school clause 
was small, eleven to forty-six ; but it is worthy of note that of 
the eleven, seven were Conservatives and four advanced Liberals. 
In 1853 the Earl of Elgin paid a visit of some months to 
England, returning in 1854, charged with the negotiation of a 
treaty of reciprocity with the United States. As a curious 
instance of the errors into which writers of history fall, Wi throw 
charges the Ministry with deferring the meeting of Parliament 
until the 13th June, because they were " conscious of waning 
influence," although, in the very same page, it is correctly stated 
that the treaty was only signed on the 5th June, exactly eight 
days before the time fixed for the meeting ; and although the 
Governor-General had been some months absent, engaged, as I 
likewise was, both in England and Washington, in the service of 
the country. 


On the preceding page of the same history, there is a statement 
which, when first read in Withrow, was wholly new to me. Ee- 
ferring to the memorable Gavazzi riot in Montreal in 1853 it is 
asserted by Withrow that " this tragical occurrence caused 
intense excitement throughout the country ; as the Government 
failed to make any very rigorous investigation into the affair, the 
Protestant population strongly denounced the Hincks adminis- 
tration, and transferred their allegiance to Mr. Brown, who was 
regarded as the most eminent champion of Protestants in the 
Assembly." To what extent the unfortunate calamity in ques- 
tion may have influenced public opinion, it is of course impossible 
for me to say, but I can well believe that it was taken advantage 
of by those who claimed to be the especial champions of Protes- 
tantism. It is, however, most unjust to make the administration 
of the day the scape-goat for the follies of those who brought 
Gavazzi to Montreal and Quebec, and of those who molested him 
after he had come. The riot took place in Montreal, the Govern- 
ment was in Quebec. The regiment on duty, and which fired 


without orders, had only been a few days in Canada. A Court of 
Enquiry was immediately ordered, and the regiment was soon 
after transferred to Bermuda. The administration of the day 
were no more responsible than Mr. Withrow himself for the 
contretemps, and if it produced the effect which he alleges it did, 
it affords a curious instance of the misleading influence of reli- 
gious prejudice. As I have noticed the passage in Withrow 
relating to the Gavazzi riot, I must express my dissent from 
another statement which reflects on a gentleman, then Mayor of 
Montreal, who was present for the express purpose of protecting 
the congregation of Zion Church from a threatened attack. The 
gentleman referred to, the late Senator Wilson, positively denied 
at the time that he ever gave any order to fire, and though the 
charge was freely made at the time, there was never the slightest 
ground for it in the opinion of impartial and intelligent men, and 
for the following reason : It was alleged that the Mayor or some 
one else cried out *• Fire !" Now the military word of command 
is " Beady, present," and not " Fire," and it never was pretend- 
ed that any officer gave such a command or that he ever received 
any request from the Mayor to give it. The firing was, I am 
persuaded, quite accidental, one man having discharged his piece 
from misapprehension, and others having followed his example 
until the officers threw themselves in front, and struck up the 

The intention of the Government had been to limit the business 
of the session of 1854 to the legislation required to give effect to 
the Eeciprocity Treaty, and to bring into active operation an Act 
already passed, extending the franchise, but w T hich did not come 
into operation until the beginning of the following year. It 
seemed in accordance with constitutional usage not to proceed to 
legislate on such important questions as the Clergy Eeserves and 
the Seigniorial question with a House of Assembly which had 
been pronounced by a two-thirds majority of both Houses to be 
an inadequate representation of the people. An amendment 
affirming the propriety of proceeding at once to legislate on these 
questions was carried by a majority of 42 to 29, the said majority 
being chiefly composed of Conservatives, with about 15 advanced 
Liberals from Upper and Lower Canada. 

The dissolution of Parliament followed, and the result was the 
return in Upper Canada of three distinct parties, Ministerialists, 


Conservatives and advanced Liberals, who took the name of Clear 
Grits, by which they were long and are still designated. Of the 
three parties the Ministerialists were the most numerous. In 
Lower Canada there were the same divisions, but the Ministerial- 
ists outnumbered the combined forces of the Conservatives and 
the party generally termed Eouges. When the Parliament met 
it became apparent from the first divisions that the Ministers had 
not the confidence of the House, and they at once tendered their 
resignations, whereupon the Governor-General sent for the leader 
of the Opposition and asked his advice as to the formation of a 
new Cabinet. 


He at once applied to Mr. Morin, the leader of the Lower 
Canada majority, for his assistance. The result of the conferences 
which took place was to satisfy all those who took part in them 
that there w T as no essential difference of opinion between them as 
to the measures to be carried. The Conservatives had for some 
time back made no secret of their willingness to be guided by the 
elections as to the mode of settling the Clergy Eeserve question, 
which was the only one causing much embarrassment in Upper 
Canada. Being of opinion that the combination of parties by 
which the new Government was supported, presented the only 
solution of the difficulty caused by a coalition of parties holding 
no sentiments in common, a coalition which rarely takes place in 
England, I deemed it my duty to give my support to that Gov- 
ernment during the short period that I continued in Canadian 
public life. 

[I shall insert here the letter addressed to me by Mr. Baldwin, 
not then in public life, approving of the course which I had felt 
it my duty to take : — 

Spadina, 22nd Sept., 1854. 
My Dear Sir, — It is not easy for persons to satisfy themselves 
fully as to what they would themselves have done under a given 
combination of circumstances in which they have not been placed, 
and certainly in no department of human affairs is this more true 
than in politics. The materials with which one has to deal are 
so various, the prejudices to encounter often so violent (and not 
unfrequently unjust in proportion to their violence,) that the 
public man who boldly affirms in a spirit of condemnation, that 
had he been in the position of another he would have done one 


thing and not have done another, must be either deficient in 
experience, or in judgment, or reckless of assertion. If, there- 
fore, by its being " on all sides said that I would never consent 
to a coalition," it is meant, in that way, to draw a contrast be- 
tween us to your prejudice, all that I can say is, that those who 
undertake thus to speak for me, undertake to do so far more 
positively than I could presume to do myself. For, however 
disinclined myself to adventure upon such combinations, they are 
unquestionably, in my opinion, under certain circumstances, not 
only justifiable but expedient, and even necessary. The Govern- 
ment of the country must be carried on. It ought to be carried 
on with vigor. If that can be done in no other way than by 
mutual concessions and a coalition of parties, they become neces- 
sary. And those who, under such circumstances, assume the 
arduous duty of becoming parties to them, so far from deserving 
the opprobrium that is too frequently and often too successfully 
heaped upon them, have, in my opinion, the strongest claims 
upon public sympathy and support. You have expressed your- 
self most anxious for my opinion. I feel therefore that I should 
fail in doing by you what, under similar circumstances, I should 
expect from you, were I to omit applying the foregoing remarks 
to the particular transaction which has given occasion to them ; 
with respect to which, then I add without reserve that, in my 
opinion, you appear to have acted in this matter with judgment 
and discretion in the interest at once of your party and your 

Believe me to be, my dear Sir 

Yours truly, 
(Signed,) Eobert Baldwin. 

Hon. Francis Hincks, M.P.P.] 

Although absent for about 14 years, commencing in 1855, I 
watched the course of events in Canada with unabated interest. 
It was a gratification to me during the period of my residence in 
the tropics to receive a deputation of gentlemen commissioned by 
the Government to enquire as to the best means of extending 
commercial intercourse between Canada and the West Indies and 
to have been*able to aid in obtaining from British Guiana a pro- 
mise of co-operation towards the establishment of a line of 
steamers between a Canadian port and the principal British West 
Indian Colonies. Before the period of my return the antagonism 
between Upper and Lower Canada on the subject of the provision 
in the Union Act for equality of representation in the Legisla- 
ture had led the contending parties to seek a solution of the diffi- 
culty in Confederation. 



When referring to a question that for many years engaged a 
large share of public attention, I feel that T may, without impro- 
priety, avail myself of the opportunity to disprove a very serious 
personal charge made against me in Garneau's history, and very 
much exaggerated owing to the incorrect translation of the 
French by Andrew Bell. After referring to the clause in the 
Union Act of 1840, which provided that the Canadian Legislative 
Chambers should not have power to change the number of repre- 
sentatives without the consent of two-thirds of the members, the 
translator proceeds : — 

" But one of the Provincial Ministers of Upper Canada, Mr. 
Hincks, visiting London in 1854, took occasion to get a law 
passed making members for our Upper Chamber elective (mere- 
ly) in order to get the restrictive clause noted above annulled by 
the Imperial Parliament." 

In a note there is the following explanation 

" Mr. Morin, then a member of the Hincks administration, 
assures me that he was not made privy to such a limitation being 
intended by his colleagues, nor did he at all know about that 
change so important in itself to French-Canadians, till he was 
informed of it by the newspapers." 

Mr. Bell's ignorance of French is only equalled by his ignorance 
of Canadian history. The Act referred to was passed in pursuance 
of an address from the Canadian Assembly, but the charge as 
made by Garneau, is an utter fabrication. I could have made 
precisely the same statement as Mr. Morin with equal truth. I 
was not in England when the bill was passed, and was never 
consulted on the subject, and if Mr. Garneau, before publishing a 
most offensive charge against me, who was absent, had taken the 
trouble to search the Lords' journals he would have found that 
the clause referred to was not in the bill as originally introduced 
by the Duke of Newcastle, but was proposed as an amendment in 
committee. I have ascertained that a Canadian gentleman who 
happened to be in England at the time, and who was present in 
the House of Lords, suggested the amendment to a Peer of his 
acquaintance, and got him to obtain the concurrence of the Lords 
to it. Although my interference in such a matter would have 


been a breach of faith to my colleagues, the gentleman to whom 
I have referred had a perfect right to make the suggestion. Mr. 
Turcotte has likewise noticed the repeal of the clause in question, 
but was too just to hazard a serious charge without proof. He 

ga y g: « We are yet ignorant who were the enemies of Lower 

Canada who suggested this change." To the student of our past 
history the success of Confederation must appear almost a marvel. 
It has lasted ten years without serious opposition ; indeed, it has 
been a matter of controversy between rival political parties to 
which the credit of bringing it about justly belongs. And, yet, 
it is not quite 40 years since Lords Durham and Sydenham were 
persuaded that the English population would never again tolerate 
the authority of a House of Assembly in which the French should 
possess or even approximate to a majority. The present House 
of Assembly of Quebec is composed of much the same classes as 
the old House of Assembly of Lower Canada, and the questions 
on which the two races are most likely to differ are precisely 
those which under our constitution have to be dealt with by the 
Local Legislature. I can hardly doubt that I have long ere this 
exhausted your patience. The subject must, I fear, be dry and 
uninteresting to the general public, but it seems to be desirable 
that the history of those conflicts which secured for the Canadian 
people that admirable system of self-government which both of 
the political parties unite in eulogizing should be impressed on 
the memory of all classes of the people. I will conclude with an 
expression of my best wishes for the prosperity of your society. 



The following should have been inserted on page 16, at the 
end of the notice of the Hon. E. Baldwin : — 

[During my temporary residence in the tropics a work was, 
published in Canada, entitled " Portraits of British Americans 
by W. Notman, with biographical sketches edited by Fennings 
Taylor," to which I would have referred in the lecture had it 
been possible. In the introduction to that work it is stated to 
have been Mr. Notman's desire that " the sketches should be 
written fairly and impartially," and accordingly he selected " a 
gentleman whose duties did not necessarily bring him into con- 
fidential intercourse with any member or estate of the Govern- 
ment," but who had "enjoyed fair opportunities of observing the 
course of public events," and possessed " the habit of equable 
impartiality that is almost inseparable from official life." The 
author of the biographies, Mr. Fennings Taylor, has never been 
charged with writing under the influence of political bias, and 
most assuredly his sympathies had never been enlisted on the 
side of politics with which Mr. Baldwin was identified. I should 
have been glad to have been able to quote at some length from 
Mr. Fennings Taylor's sketches of " one whose patriotism was as 
conspicuous for its purity as his character was for its truth," but 
that is impossible under the circumstances. I avail myself, how- 
ever, of two interesting records : One, a speech delivered by Mr. 
Baldwin on the occasion of a charge made against him in connec- 
tion with his mission to the armed insurgents who were approach- 
ing Toronto, on the 5th December, 1837, and the other, his 
farewell speech after his defeat in the North Biding of York, in 
1851. On the latter, I need not offer a single comment. A few 
remarks may not be out of place on the speech describing Mr. 
Baldwin's mission to the insurgents. I shall quote Withiow's 
report as a fair specimen of what I admit to have been the most 
current version. " The Governor to gain time sent Bobert Bald- 
win and Dr. Bolph, who had hitherto concealed his treason, with 
a flag of truce, to enquire their demands. The answer was inde- 
pendence, and a written answer was required within an hour." 
The foundation of the above version is a narrative of Mr. William 
Lyon Mackenzie, prepared at Navy Island, and intended, if I 
may use the expression, for the United States market. Mr. 
Fennings Taylor declared in 1865, that Mr. Baldwin's speech, 
" set the question for ever at rest," and yet in 1876 Mr, Withrow 


gives Mr. Mackenzie's version without noticing Mr. Baldwin's. 
Had the two versions been placed in juxtaposition, I should not 
have deemed it necessary to notice either. As I have felt it 
necessary to notice Mr. Withrow's history, I desire to state here 
in justice to that gentleman, that I have not discovered any 
tendency to partiality in his history, and that I do not doubt that 
his numerous errors have been unintentional. He has compiled 
a great deal from McMull en's history, a work creditable to its 
author, under the circumstances which he has himself stated, 
when pleading in defence for short comings his " peculiar posi- 
tion." He "possessed no literary leisure," and if, as I presume 
to have been the case, he prepared his work at Brockville, where 
it was published, he could not have had access to a good library. 
He invites corrections of his errors in view of a second edition, 
which I fear he was not encouraged to publish. I will here 
glance at a few errors in With row, none of any great conse- 
quence, but in all which he has followed McMullen as closely as 
possible. Lord Dalhousie is said " to have been appointed 
Governor-General of India," and to have " won merited distinc- 
tion by his vigorous administration." The Canadian Governor 
to whom reference is made, was never Governor-General of India, 
but was Commander-in-Chief in India, in which capacity he had 
nothing to do with Administration. In giving the list of the 
Ministry of 181:1, Withrow follows McMullen in omitting the 
name of the Hon. H. H. Killaly. In referring to the change of 
Ministry in 1842, McMullen made the absurd mistake of stating 
that " Mr. Sherwood gave place to Mr. Aylwin," the latter being 
a lawyer practising in Quebec, and the former Solicitor-General 
for Upper Canada. The Hon. James E. Small, of Toronto, suc- 
ceeded Mi-. Sherwood. It was on McMullen's authority that 
Withrow stated that I became Inspector-General at that time, 
whereas I had joined the Government previous to the change. 
When the Lafontaine-Baldwin administration was formed in 1848, 
it was composed, says Withrow, of 4 French and 4 British mem- 
bers. McMullen, though himself incorrect, says that it was com- 
posed of 8 of British origin and 4 of French. The French 
Canadian names are given correctly, but Withrow overlooked the 
fact that there were 2 British names from Lower Canada, Leslie 
and Aylwin ; while there were only 5 in Upper Canada. The 
cause of that was the decision arrived at that in future the 
Solicitors-General should not have seats in the Cabinet, but as Mr. 


Ay 1 win had already been in the Council in 1842, he was again 
sworn in. Withrow omits the names of the Hon. Messrs. Sullivan 
and Price, and includes Mr. Blake, who was never a member 
of the Executive Council, although Solicitor-General. In this 
instance, Withrow has followed McMullen literally as to the 
names, but has reduced the number by 4. The foregoing errors 
I cite to show how closely Withrow has followed McMullen, and 
although the errors are of trifling importance, they are on points 
where accuracy would be desirable. 

" The Hon. member for Hamilton had thought to drag into the 
discussion allusion to a matter that was personal to himself," 
(referring to a transaction which had been frequently urged 
against Mr. Baldwin, as something derogatory to his public char- 
acter, and of a nature to disqualify him from holding a situation 
in the government of his country). u However little that matter 
had to do with the question before the house, he had yet no objec- 
tion to enter upon it. He would beg to recall to the mind of the 
Hon. and gallant member for Hamilton that his (Mr. B's) share 
in that transaction was not a matter of choice with him, but was 
in a manner forced upon him. He had, indeed, as the Hon. and 
gallant member affirmed, gone out with a flag of truce to the 
armed men who had approached Toronto ; but at whose instance? 
(Hear, hear.) It was at the personal desire, and upon the urgent 
solicitation of the panic-stricken government of Upper Canada, 
which came to him in the person of the High Sheriff, to request 
his interference to stop the deluded men who were approaching 
the city. He complied, and went out with a flag of truce. He 
was sent back for some evidence from the head of the govern- 
ment that he really came to them in the character and with the 
authority he pretended to have. And what was the return he 
received at the hands of the very man who sent him out ? Sir 
Francis Head, through the same functionary, refused to give him 
a single line to shew that he had really gone out under his sanc- 
tion ; and this humiliating refusal he was compelled to return 
and announce to those before whom he had but recently appeared 
as a party clothed with the authority of the government. Sir 
Francis Head had not the magnanimity to avow his own act. 

This was the position in which he had been placed before his 
country by that man who was the idol of the Hon. and learned 
member. He (Mr. B.) was made to appear in a most equivocal 
light, and as a man of bad faith, who was trifling with the very 
lives of his fellow-men under false pretences. And this was the 
man at whose call he was expected to take up arms ! (Hear.) He 
had acted then as he would now under similar circumstances, and 
if condemned by that House, which he did not fear, his own heart 
would sustain him. His country, which had honored him with 


its confidence, would not condemn him. He had often been 
assailed upon this point. He had been held up as a rebel and a 
traitor — not by the Hon. and gallant member, but by the ribald 
press which was the organ of his party, and whose chief business 
it appeared to be to heap calumny and abuse in every form that 
ingenuity could devise, upon their political opponents. But he 
cared not for this ribald abuse. He passed it over as unworthy 
of notice. He thanked God that he had a reputation, and he was 
perfectly willing to rest that reputation upon the verdict his 
country would pass upon the passages in his career upon which 
he had been most assailed. (Hear, hear.) Notwithstanding all 
the abuse which had assailed him in his own country, which had 
been repeated against him in the mother country, and spread 
throughout Europe, what was the result ? He had had the honor 
of being appointed to offices of high confidence by three different 
representatives of his sovereign, and of having these appoint- 
ments sanctioned by the Sovereign herself, and that confidence 
continued to him by a fourth representative of the Sovereign, the 
present head of the Provincial G-overnment. This was his justi- 
fication — this his best defence against the taunts of his enemies." 


The Returning Officer having, from the hustings outside, de- 
clared the state of the poll, and the return of Mr. Hartman, a 
desire was intimated to adjourn to the adjoining Court House, to 
hear what was to be said. This being concurred in, those present, 
to the number of 100, moved into the Court House, and Mr. 
Baldwin, followed by Mr. Hartman, ascended a sort of elevated 
desk. Mr. Baldwin first addressed the meeting. He said the 
audience had just heard the declaration of a fact that severed the 
political tie which had, for the last eleven years, connected him 
with the North Riding of York. It might be said, and no doubt 
was said by many, that he ought to have withdrawn from the 
representation of the Riding, rather than contest it under the 
circumstances which led to the result just announced. He did 
not view the matter in that light. He felt that a strong sense of 
duty required him to take a different course, and not to take on 
himself the responsibility of originating the disruption of a bond 
which they had formed and repeatedly renewed, between him 
and the electors of the North Riding. So far as he was able im- 
partially to review the course he had hitherto, and especially for 
the last four years, pursued, he could see no change in himself, 
nothing which should have induced them to withdraw a con- 
fidence repeatedly expressed at former elections. All circum- 
stances duly considered, he could not recall any act of impor- 
tance which he had performed, or for which he was responsible, 
that his sense of duty to his country did not require, or, at least, 
4id not justify. In the course of the canvass just ended, he had 


frequent opportunities of explaining his views to those who 
sustained, and occasionally to those who opposed him. It was 
unnecessary for him then to repeat those views ; but he felt it 
due to his own sense of right, and to the opinions of his friends, 
to say that, under present circumstances, he saw no reason to 
withhold a sincere re-assertion of them. In his own mind he 
could find nothing that would justify him under all the circum- 
stances, in pursuing a different course from that which he had 
taken. He had the satisfaction of knowing that there were intel- 
ligent men of a noble spirit in this Biding who concurred with 
him — staunch friends of former days, who had on the recent 
occasion given him their assistance and votes, in the face of, as 
the result showed, very discouraging circumstances. Principles 
so approved in his own mind, and so supported by such friends, 
he could not abandon. Until constitutionally advised to the con- 
trary by the votes of the majority, he felt bound to believe that 
what he had always supported, what his constituents had fre- 
quently affirmed at former elections — what he still believed to be 
right — what he knew to be still sustained by men of valuable 
character, was also still concurred in by a majority at least of his 
constituents. He believed, indeed, that his successful opponent 
did not differ from him in his view of his (Mr. Baldwin's) posi- 
tion. Under those circumstances he felt he would not be justified 
in accepting any evidence of a change in the minds of his consti- 
tuents less doubtful than that of their own recorded votes. It could 
not now be said of him in leaving, that he had abandoned them. 
These considerations had impelled him not to shrink from the 
ordeal of a contest, nor from the announcement now made of its 
result, however discouraging that result might be considered. It 
only remained for him now to return his cordial thanks, first and 
most especially to the staunch friends who in the face of disheart- 
ening circumstances had manfully recorded their votes for him, 
and actively assisted him at the polls and otherwise. To these 
he felt he could not adequately express his obligations. He would 
also say that his acknowledgements were due to those who had 
been his supporters on former occasions, not excepting out of this 
number his successful rival, for the kindness he had met with 
among them, and for the courteous manner to himself personally, 
in which the opposition to him had been conducted. They would 
part, but part in friendship. They had withdrawn their political 
confidence from him, and he was now free from responsibility to 
them. There were among the points of difference between him 
and their member elect, some not unimportant principles, but 
although he could not without some alarm observe a tendency 
which he considered evil, still to all of them personally, he wished 
the utmost prosperity and happiness they could desire. To his 
friends, then, of the North Biding, gratefully and not without 
regret, to his opponents without any feeling of unkindness, he 
would now say, Farewell.